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
    out_of_the_blue, 26 Sep 2011 @ 5:46am

    "Firefighters tell homeowners how to keep houses safe from fires"

    Those vicious government worriers! -- Link title on same page. Looks as though the police state is going full tilt.

    I don't see much problem with this, even if I didn't despise all those too lazy to connect wires.

    By the way, I just noticed that the weekend "stories" (which I never read -- don't you people have off-line lives?) are what I frequently rail at: totally comments on comments! Holy cow, it's narcissistic wallowing in your own supposed wit, And to me seems to drive the reach for excess ornamental fluorishes.

    Then, after noting a LACK in the comments above (#24 current), occurred to me that what's needed is the opposite: for Mike to highlight and trumpet the first ad hominem or vulgarism. Let's all see who's the first low-life to use those this week, hmm? (This mention will cause skewing of results, I hope.)

    [And a somewhat related shout out to #5 Take_a_WIfi_on_me for working in two rare words: eidetic and commensualism.]

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