by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 21st 2011 1:31pm
Slashdot points us to the news of a somewhat surprising ruling out of the Netherlands. Apparently, a Dutch court has ruled that hacking into an encrypted WiFi router to use the connection is legal. I'll have to remember that next time I'm searching for WiFi in the Netherlands. Along those lines, it also said that just hopping on open WiFi networks cannot be prosecuted. That latter point I certainly agree with. If you leave a router open, it should be perfectly legal to use it. As for why hacking into an encrypted router was deemed legal, it's basically because the law defines a computer as a machine that handles the storage, processing and transmission of data. And, with most routers, there's no storage. So it's not a computer. If the guy had hacked into someone's computer, it would have been a different story. Of course, I wouldn't be surprised to see the government now modify the law to cover routers and other devices as well.
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