Austin Police Planned... Then Postponed Wardriving Plans In An Attempt To Shutdown Open WiFi

from the um,-but-it's-legal dept

Jonathan Rumion alerted us to a plan by the Austin, Texas police department to conduct a massive war drive around the city, looking for open WiFi networks, with the plan to try to find the owners, and tell them to lock up their WiFi networks. We've heard of similar campaigns in the past. Rumion was reasonably concerned about this effort -- and whether it was because of him asking questions, or other reasons, it looks like the Austin police have postponed this effort for the time being.

Either way, it raises lots of questions. Having an open WiFi network is not against the law, so should the police really be going around telling people to lock up their WiFi? It's also not at all clear how they're figuring out who actually owns the open WiFi networks. Rumion was also concerned about what the police might do with the data they collect, though I don't think that should be an issue -- that data is public. Still, it does seem like a questionable effort against something that remains perfectly legal.

Filed Under: austin, open wifi, wifi, wireless


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  1. identicon
    Isamu, 26 Oct 2011 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Shut down Wi-fi

    Rule of thumb, If you can't keep it safe don't get it.

    People should be able to keep their WiFi open if they wish.

    People that don't know how to secure, shouldn't be setting up WiFi in their homes. They have no excuse for not knowing how. Besides the great thing called the internet, they have the owner's manual to tell them to how to secure it. Many wireless routers have an option to auto-secure it.

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