Friday, March 17, 2006

Felony Surfing?

Back in October I asked about the ethics of piggy-backing on someone's unencrypted wireless network. A recent issue of WXPNews had an article dealing with just that question. The title caught my eye - Is Your Wireless Web Surfing Breaking the Law? I had some questions about the morality of wireless piggy-backing but the idea that it might be illegal didn't occur to me. The line in the article that caught my eye was: Last summer, a man in Florida was arrested on felony charges of unauthorized use of a wireless network when he sat in a parked car and connected to a WAP in another man's house. The story made big news when it happened but we've been trying to find out, with little luck, what the disposition was. A man was arrested for using someone else's wi-fi? I hope that there is more to this story than that!

Here is a little more detail but I haven't been able to find a resolution to this case - Man charged with wireless trespassing.

In a response to the article, one person wrote, "attaching to [another person's] network is less like trespassing on their property than it is like eating the apples that fell off their tree into your yard." I tend to feel this way too. Anyone who wants to use my unencrypted Wi-Fi network is welcome to it. In fact, I think we need universal, unencrypted Wi-Fi. The ability to access the internet from anywhere with any wireless device would be a huge boon for society. I expect to see it in my lifetime.

1 comment:

Jessica Sant said...

The City of Philadelphia is working on a free wifi for the city: http://www.phila.gov/wireless/ I used it once in the city, it certainly got bogged down at times, but it was convenient to have.

(btw -- hi Thomas! Hope all is well!)