Networking

If you're stealing bandwidth from a neighbor's WLAN, you better read this


I know several people that have taken advantage of the fact that at least one of their neighbors has an unsecured Wireless Access Point connected to a broadband Internet connection. I often mention that they are technically stealing bandwidth by doing this, but that usually only generates a laugh and a shrug. Well, today I read a story that I hope will serve as a cautionary tale for anyone out there that is stealing bandwidth from a neighbor. A Florida man was arrested in April for stealing bandwidth from a home Wi-Fi network.

Interestingly, a Gartner analyst interviewed for this story placed the blame for the incident on the guy who didn't lock down his WLAN. I agree that the guy -- and a lot of other folks that have unsecured WLANs -- need to take respsonsibility for learning to secure their networks if they are going to run wireless. However, I am appalled by the argument of the Gartner analyst. It's the same thing as saying that if a person leaves their front door unlocked, then they deserve to get robbed and we shouldn't place any blame on the robber. That's an ethically-bankrupt argument and I certainly would not want to live in a society that has that kind of mindset. A person who knowingly and willfully steals something deserves to be punished according to the full extent of the law -- and that includes you, if you're stealing bandwidth.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

109 comments
TheChas
TheChas

Saw this item on PC World: "Police officers in London arrested a 39-year-old man using his laptop to access someone else's wireless Internet connection on Tuesday. His actions could potentially breach the Computer Misuse Act and the Communications Act, according to a Metropolitan Police Service statement. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed the arrest on Thursday. Two Police Community Support Officers spotted the man using the computer as he sat on a garden wall in the West London suburb of Chiswick. When they questioned him, he admitted using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. PCSOs do not have the same powers as regular police officers, and so had to wait for other officers to arrest him. British Police forces use PCSOs to reassure the public and tackle antisocial behavior: they spend most of their time on foot patrol. The man was later released on police bail, and must return to the police station in Chiswick on Oct. 11 Dishonestly obtaining electronic communication services is an offense under Section 125 of the U.K. 2003 Communications Act, while unauthorized access to computer material is a summary offense under Section 1 of the 1990 Computer Misuse Act. It's not the first time someone has been arrested or prosecuted for such an offense, the spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said. However, neither offense is considered sufficiently serious for statistical analysis, so he could not say how many such arrests had been made. Tellingly, the spokesman could not recall any successful convictions for illegally using broadband Internet connections. In July, local media reported that West Mercia Police had cautioned, but not arrested, two people in separate incidents in Redditch, England, for illegally using private Wi-Fi networks, but staff there could not say whether this was part of a concerted campaign against Wi-Fi thieves. Officials at the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office also said they did not track such offenses separately."

tim.mcgovern
tim.mcgovern

When I lived in a mid-rise apartment building, I used to actually partition my bandwidth and offered up a certain amount of it as unsecured to anyone. I didn't advertise the fact that I had a certain amount of my network open but I do know from the logs that people used it. I think it's ridiculous that we have to lock everything down and that people would consider using bandwidth like that as stealing. How do you know if people meant to have the network open and free for all to use? Our concept of what stealing is really needs to change here. It's not like it costs you any money to offer up bandwidth. In fact, most of the time >90%, you are not using ANY bandwidth. So you have plenty to share. I now have security and do not offer up free access anymore because I can be held responsible for what someone does on my network. So if someone shares a song or 2 on my network and I don't know about it; I am the one who gets hurt. Really, this whole concept in my mind is completely broken.

onbliss
onbliss

The first thought that comes to my mind is that it is wrong; and if the person stealing can afford to pay for her/his cable the matter becomes little "cheaper".

jdclyde
jdclyde

I am surprised it took this long to fix this "feature" though. Definitely a step in the right direction though.

nentech
nentech

What most people in this discussion are forgetting There is more than one network involved The first is the local network Any access to the computers on this network can be considered invasion of privacy So it will be best to understand the privacy laws The second is the wireless network Same privacy laws The access point may be broadcasting an invitation to connect to it It is not an invitation to access the local network The third is the Internet If you are not authorised to use the password and ID that has been provided by the service provider you are breaking the law That person has the contract not you Get your own contract Use the wireless network to access the Internet with someone else's password and ID is the same as stealing that ID and password In the future Internet service providers will include in their contracts a requirement to secure any wireless network that is connected to their network Both the persons in this case are to blame One was stupid or ignorant One broke the law, privacy or otherwise Sorry accessing someone's wireless network is breaking the law Maybe not the one you expected There are plenty of other laws that apply Ignorance is no excuse Be safe don't do it

TheChas
TheChas

All of you who justify accessing a wireless network just because the owner has not secured the network make me sick. Just how far are we willing to compromise civil behavior to justify the actions of our desires? Consider me a technology prude if you will. But, I place war-drivers and others who access networks that they do not have specific authorization to use in the same class as punks that paint their tag on other peoples buildings and those that vandalize public and personal property. War-drivers are at best 1/2 a notch above hackers and virus authors. Chas

faradhi
faradhi

as you can see not edit. WOOOHOOO

Absolutely
Absolutely

I am also appalled by the Gartner analyst's remarks. In fact, Sonja, I'll go so far as to say that "argument" is too generous a term. His criticisms are more a middle-school playground taunt than an argument. [i]Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney has no sympathy for Wi-Fi users such as Dinon. "He should have put security on his wireless LAN system. It's the guy's fault that he left it open," Dulaney said. "Don't the police have anything better to do?"[/i] Really, Ken, how should he "have put security on his wireless LAN system"? Does he just twist off the cap, and pour some security onto his wireless router, as if it's a toothbrush? Or, does he need a bottle opener to "put security on his wireless LAN system"? Ken, you're supposedly an IT professional. This man is not. He was sold bandwidth, and a wireless router, that were marketed to him essentially as "appliances". Yes, I'm sure there was fine print that establishes that the ISP and the manufacturer of the router are not responsible for securing his particular network. But, what do you get, and how does your profession benefit, from your dismissive, insulting statements?

Tig2
Tig2

Sonia, I agree. But I also will tunnel in to unsecured open nets to leave handy messages about how to lock them down. This has resulted in neighbours locking down and asking questions about their security. Not a bad outcome. The moral/ethical question is tough. From my perspective, I have the sufficient knowledge to break most WEP LANs. That means I can't do it, no matter what. But I am sure that there are other opinions on the issue. Edited to replace title

jdclyde
jdclyde

[i](edited because of the poorly thought out process that still hasn't been fixed of giving a meaningless title to the post. I NEVER read a post that has the generic title, and am surprised anyone else would either)[/i] It is the home owner that has violated the terms of their agreement with the provider, that is making the network available to all. (sharing it out). Something people forget is the airwaves are public domain and free to use by all. If you put something in the public domain, expect it to be used. This is like the losers that put the legal disclaimer at the end of their emails, stating that if you were not the intended recipient that you MUST delete it and not forward it on. It sounds good in theory, but if you send it out, you just gave away all ability to enforce such meaningless ramblings. This is an old story (2005) and was brought up a year or so ago when I started a discussion asking what people thought about accessing open access points. How about some follow up and say if he got CONVICTED of anything. Local cops can CHARGE you with anything, but it doesn't mean anything unless you are convicted of it.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

Let's all sit down and think for a moment: What, ACTUALLY, whether deliberately or inadvertently [see 'Not only but also' above] are you supposedly stealing? If you sit on someone else's bandwidth, they still control the availability. Should their usage transmission rate fall the errant user would notice an increase in what was available. The converse would also apply. Therefore you are only 'guilty' of getting the scraps from the master's table, scraps that would go unused. After all isn't that how the whole broadband system works, using the 256/128/64 principle? At any given moment there are 64 channels left unused. I fail to see how this could be construed as having malice aforethought. As Palmetto said: if the water doesn't come from your tap, you can hardly be charged for it falling into your garden.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"It's the same thing as saying that if a person leaves their front door unlocked, then they deserve to get robbed ... " Unlike a passive unlocked door, the access point is actively broadcasting it's presence, accepting traffic, and transmitting back. If you want to use a door analogy, it's like spray painting, "Hey, I'm open! C'mon in!" on the door and installing an automatic opener. I think it's the same as my neighbor's sprinkler system watering my lawn. If I tell my neighbor his sprinklers are watering my grass, I've done my part. If he wants to keep pouring water on my lawn, it's his bill. Just for the record, I have dial-up at home and no wireless capability.

calin24x7
calin24x7

I don't think that "stealing? bandwidth is actually stealing and I also believe that as long as there is no other associated malevolent /criminal activity, there is nothing wrong with the actual use of bandwidth made public. And that's exactly what it is: bandwidth made public. Why, in the first place do so many people jump onto the wireless bandwagon when they don't have a clue and they don't need wireless in the first place? What's wrong with the good old wired networks? Wires? Well, I have never heard of bandwidth stealing from wired networks, unless there was a break-in. And yes, they do require being installed, and even some holes being drilled but they are far more stable, reliable and more hack-proof. AND they cause less em RADIATION AND INTERFERENCE. And, NO, it's not like breaking into a house that's been left unlocked. Unlocked houses don't advertise themselves to everybody in the neighbourhood. An unsecured access point does exactly that. There is too much lack of accountability and ability to blame others. I believe that setting up an unsecured wireless access point that is "radiating/broadcasting" bandwidth beyond the boundaries of ones home, is an open invitation for the bandwidth to be used (with respect and decency) without seeking further authority. I also believe that people who just set up wireless access points and then complain about bandwidth theft are, in fact asking for it and should, at least be seen to be guilty of provocation and /or reckless endangerment of some sort

jdclyde
jdclyde

They do still have and use dungeons in the UK, right? :D

TheChas
TheChas

When offering up your ISP connection for free use, a few songs that someone shared could be the least of your worries. Read the terms of service from your ISP. I suspect that you will find that allowing others outside of your immediate family to access your internet connection is a violation of the terms of service. By letting someone access the internet for free, you are denying the ISP a customer. Of course, the thing that will really mess up your life is if someone uses your open network to send and receive child p*rn pictures. Since the trace would be to your internet account the real villain would get away free. While you spend a month or more cleaning up the mess your life became. I'm sure that there are other nefarious things that those who don't want to be tracked could do over an open wire-less connection. It can take a lot of work to monitor and filter an open internet connection to keep users from getting you in trouble. Chas

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

Or (for our American cousins) Joe 6-pack's neighbour (yes, I will stick with the proper spelling) sitting in his apartment. There was a recent case in the UK where the conviction was dished out to some character, who was arrested sitting in a car with cardboard taped to the insides of his windscreen and door windows, stealing bandwidth from a wireless router in a nearby house. This joker had been driving miles each night to sit outside this particular house and jump on the wireless signal. He got arrested, charged, and regally convicted. - And BLOODY RIGHT TOO!! But for some Mr Average, sitting in his lounge, on his wireless laptop, in a high-rise block of flats, surrounded by a myriad of unsecured wireless signals? No I'm sorry - that's not the same thing at all. He's got enough problems - he's already living at the ungodly height of 200 hundred feet off the ground.

jdclyde
jdclyde

although looking at the titles that say "add comment" still shows what their intentions were. They Do seem to be moving more to a post board than a discussion board. You come in, read the article/blog, post a comment, and then go on to the next article.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The equipment came with instructions. If it was installed by the ISP, then I can let Joe off the hook. If Joe bought and installed the equipment himself and couldn't be bothered to read the damn manual, then it's his fault. I do like jdclyde's idea. Sell the darn thing disabled and make Joe read the book to get it to work.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I made an exception this time. Who is to blame? How about the people that [b]SOLD THE "APPLIANCE"[/b] as an appliance? It is the way the products are marketed and sold that is a big part of the problem. If you buy a car, they tell you to put gas in and change the oil, and if you don't change oil, there are places that you can pay to do it for you. The same for a wireless access point. Better yet, instead of following the failed Microsoft approach of "everything on by default", they go to the more secure Linux approach of "turn on what you need, as you need it". Sure, make the wired part still DHCP and plug and pray. The wireless should be disabled, not broadcasting the SSID, and NOT feeding out DHCP. The FIRST step to configuring should MAKE you change the password from "password" as well.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Those email disclaimers are amusing, and considering that they are placed, by default, [b]after[/b] the "valuable, protected" content, one wonders... But now, to the claim that "unsecured WAP = open invitation". I'm glad you pointed out that airwaves (*) are public domain, because that astute observation begs the question: why, then, does nobody on the side of "unsecured WAP = open invitation", use the analogy of a public radio broadcast? Surely, such "available" electromagnetic waves gives you legal claim to appropriate the use, to the extent that the broadcasters do not use all the bandwidth available to them, of their transmission equipment! If not, why not? Certainly, the ability to tune an FM signal is as much an announcement of a transmitting device as is the "DHCPOFFER" packet transmitted by a wireless router, or moreso. Is it an invitation?

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Careful. If you advocate that people should be required to have a modicum of intelligence prior to buying these things, someone will sue you for discrimination :)

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

That doesn't mean you can then walk into the house and leave with the television. A retail outlet is a public place, my right to enter it doesn't grant me the right to fill my pockets with product and leave. I understand you're position, but the analogy is flawed.

Absolutely
Absolutely

there is an important distinction between a network protocol called a "DHCPOFFER", and a legal offer to use somebody else's networking hardware.

JamesBrown
JamesBrown

So then an empty house with the front door left open, a running car with the keys in the ignition, or even a pretty girl wearing a short skirt "are, in fact asking for it and should, at least be seen to be guilty of provocation and /or reckless endangerment of some sort." The old blame the victim game, huh? "It's his fault I stole his laptop because he left it on the table when he got up to get his coffee. He made it so easy; he deserved it." Sounds to me like you're justifying behavior that you know to be wrong. Guilty conscience, perhaps? It comes down to who paid for the Internet connection. If you didn't pay for it and you weeren't invited, it's not yours. That makes it theft. If I drag my tv over to someone's house and tap into their cable, do you rationalize that as ok, as well?

IT Pro Indiana
IT Pro Indiana

I have read nearly all of the posts in this thread because this is a very interesting and hot topic. I have read and understood all the different scenario's that have been presented, but let me throw out a new one. 1. You work for a company and as an employee of that company you are by default a representative of that company. If I am walking down the street (on public property) and one end of an ethernet cable, (the other end is connected to your company's LAN), is laying in the street and I plug my computer into it, but I do not have an IP address to communicate on your network. I then yell out "Hey is anyone there?" and you respond "Hello, I can hear you.", I then ask if you will provide me with an IP address so I may communicate with your network and you provide me with the information necessary. Have I violated any ethical pricipals or broken the law once I connect to your company network? 2. Same scenario, but the technical wirless version. I am walking down the street with my laptop and the laptop detects your open wireless network. I attempt to connect but do not have an IP address yet. My laptop then transmits a DHCP DISCOVER packet and subsequently a DHCP REQUEST. Your DHCP server then sends a DHCP OFFER and I respond with a DHCP ACK. My laptop then uses the the information provided by your DHCP server to configure it self and access your network. Pretty much the same scenario as #1. BUT, computers/ routers/AP's etc... can only do what humans tell them to do. With that in mind, you configured your wireless AP and DHCP server to announce it's presence, respond to requests and provide the information necessary to connect to your network. By doing so you have given permission to your AP and DHCP server to act on your behalf, same as the employee in scenario #1 did on the company's behalf. Now, have I violated any ethical pricipals or broken the law once I connect to your company network? Is there really any difference between the two scenarios? Isn't the DHCP server's OFFER packet the same as getting permission from a person?

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

If your neighbour has a lemon tree that overhangs your property, the fruit hanging over your property is yours, but you can't then bend the tree so that more of it hangs over your property. The WLAN might be unsecure and broadcasting onto your property, but this doesn't give you the right to access any online services via that WLAN, it just grants you access to that network. "Bending the tree" to access more than is readily available to you is, if not illegal, unethical. Similarly, if my neighbour opened his wallet, and all his money blew out and over my fence, I wouldn't just say, "Finders keepers! Tough luck!" Ethically I'd be bound to return his money.

Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson

If I dance naked in front of an unshuttered window, *I* might be arrested for indecent exposure, but not my neighbor who is standing in the street. But let that same neighbor either walk up to my window, or call and ask me to dance and now s/he is the one facing possible arrest. Likewise, if I have an unsecured wi-fi that is broadcasting beyond my property, my neighbor is at no risk for listening. BUT- if that same neighbor TRANSMITS something to my wi-fi device without explicit permission, that neighbor is trespassing. It is kind of hard to establish a wi-fi link without transmitting SOMETHING; so sorry, this IS stealing. The original poster's comments were synonymous to it being entirely the lady's fault she was raped because of her dress or location. This woman may be stupid, but she is a victim of a crime. The rapist should be prosecuted.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

What if, with the proliferation of wireless access points AND the scanning qualities of Vista (my XP is pretty good at this too!) you fire up your system, enable your wireless connection and start up Firefox as usual. Away you go into the internet ether, happily doing what you enjoy doing, insulting fellow professionals on TR forums - only to find at some later point in time that you are in fact on someone else's wireless node - NOT YOUR OWN! Do we all have to make sure we are using our own wireless signals? It's a bit like switching your Power or Gas supplier - it's still the same Electricity or Gas coming into your household, just someone else that you are paying for it. I'll bet there are forum members on here right now that unbeknown to them, are actually using someone else's signal. That's not theft! No criminal intent is involved! It's just technology running away with its own ability.

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

If you put a fountain in your backyard that everyone could see, and your neighbor ran a hose over to it and starting using YOUR water without paying for it, would you still not consider that stealing? The rule is very simple, I've taught it to my children: "If it doesn't belong to you, don't touch it!" Ralph

faradhi
faradhi

I feel that as a professional I have responsibility to educate the individuals with open access points as to the dangers of running one. None of my neighbors have open access points. Why, because I met both neighbors while asking them to secure it the first week I moved in. They did not understand the danger until I showed them with their permission. I did not ask for a penny, I showed each how to do the work and explained why each step was taken. If they asked for me to do the work, I directed them to someone else who would do the work at a reasonable price. I would not hire any "professional" that says they war drive. If they cannot be trusted to not take advantage of their ignorant neighbors, then I cannot trust them with my enterprise.

TheChas
TheChas

In Michigan, it is a 5 year felony to access a wireless connection without authorization. A man from Sparta Michigan is facing the charge for parking outside a cafe that runs a wi-fi network for it's customers, and connecting to the network. I have 2 use of services questions for those who think war-driving and other wireless network uses are okay. 1. If it's acceptable to use an open wireless network, would it also be acceptable for anyone who happens by to use the outside water faucet? 2. If it is acceptable to connect to a wireless network, should it not also be okay to dial out on your neighbors phone line using your cordless phone? How about from another perspective. While it is a dumb thing to leave your keys in an unlocked car parked on the street, it is still grand theft if someone steals the car. One final note, even if you do not think connecting to an open wireless network is theft of service, rest assured that ISP providing service to the owner of the open node DOES. Chas

nentech
nentech

It?s that simple In the future all states will make it illegal Ignorance of the law is no excuse It is up to the judge to decide the punishment For people who made an honest mistake it will be up to the judge to decide how to deal with them

Absolutely
Absolutely

I think the gizmo market underestimates the consumer market when assuming, in EVERY scenario, that "Joe 6-pack just doesn't want to deal with xyz". I think Joe 6-pack can handle a decently-written technical manual, with ease thank you very much.

Absolutely
Absolutely

But in the specific case of the article, the guy was caught in the act of using bandwidth that wasn't his, from a wireless router that wasn't his. I'm not trying to make the case that it's [b]unreasonably difficult[/b] for Joe 6-pack to make his wireless network secure from the least knowledgeable WAR-drivers. But, when it's so clear that the misuse of somebody else's service was deliberate, I have sympathy for the homeowner, who doesn't feel like running the risk of, among other possibilities, defamation or improper investigation for whatever the skulking guy in the van was doing. A cup of coffee is not so expensive; there are lots of legitimate wireless hotspots. For the same economic reasons that stealing bandwidth is supposedly "not a big deal", it is inherently suspicious.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

You touched on it: "If it was installed by the ISP...". I've had to reconfigure 3 Netgear devices for friends/family that were installed by Comcast technicians. And by installed, I mean plugged in and powered on. Given the patterns of behavior on the part of this particular ISP, one could draw the conclusion that the ISP actually encourages the actions described in the article (no, I don't really believe that...yes, I think it could be used in the US legal system to get someone off the hook...all you need is 1 out of 12 to buy it).

jdclyde
jdclyde

so they wouldn't even HAVE to RTFB, just the screen.

jdclyde
jdclyde

You should know better than that. Consistency between mediums? Doubtful. Because the people that write the laws rarely understand what it is they are legislating (and not just related to tech) the laws are poorly written and even more poorly enforced. And yes, an open access point [b]IS[/b] announcing it's self [b]AND[/b] inviting people to connect. That is what the protocols are designed to do, [b]unless someone turns off the SSID and DHCP, it is a constant invitation,[/b] regardless of WEP or other forms of encryption.

Absolutely
Absolutely

"If you advocate that people should be required to have a modicum of intelligence prior to buying these things, someone will sue you for discrimination." Requiring the level of knowledge necessary to [b]secure[/b] the device would cut badly into profit margins.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If I can see your TV from my back yard, am I stealing your cable?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I have not, and would not, poach off a personal unsecured wireless network. I don't even have any wireless equipment. I'm just stating my position on the subject: if you don't want your neighbor's using it, you're going to get better results securing it than relying on the legal process.

IT Pro Indiana
IT Pro Indiana

I did ask for permission. Whether it is asking a person as in example 1 or broadcasting a DHCP DISCOVER and then DHCP REQUEST as in example 2. Permission was given by the person saying here is the IP info you need to connect or a DHCP acting on your behalf doing the same thing. (also, please read post "Ethically or Legally wrong...", just above your post.)

TheChas
TheChas

What is "legal" in regards to accessing a wire-less network varies by state and city in the US. A specific case in Michigan involves a man who parked outside a cafe that offers free wire-less connections to customers. The owner of the cafe asked the man to stop using her network, or at least become a customer. When the man refused to comply, the cafe owner contacted the local police. Since small town police departments like to do what they can to help local businesses, they worked with the prosecutor and found that they could charge the man with a felony for accessing a network without authorization. So, at least in Michigan, it would be wise to not access any network that you are not a specific authorized user of. In other areas there may be no specific laws covering just accessing a network. There are however Federal laws that can come into play should you snoop around someone else's network. Especially if you access or delete files on the network computers. Chas

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

Does having access to that network then give you the right to use services that are not a part of that network? I would think that network access and broadband access were two different things. Like I've said in another thread here, being granted access to something that is perceived as public doesn't give you the right to take what you want. If I walk into the Louvre, which is a public place, do I have the right to then walk out with the Mona Lisa based purely on the fact I was admitted entrance?

Absolutely
Absolutely

In Windows XP, at least, a simple visit to Network Connections and a right-click will disable connections I don't want to use. It is not terribly likely to be on somebody else's wireless network by accident, is it?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Theft could be overlooked to some degree due to the lack of intent. As for incompetence, well, a home user is one thing but are you going to hire a tech professional who wouldn't take the time to learn there prefered OS well enough to distinguish between there own wifi and any signal they may pickup?

faradhi
faradhi

then that person is one piss poor professional. I know how I am connecting every time I connect to a network. This includes wireless. Now the average joe is one story. But if a technology professional should know. It is not that hard to determine what network you are connecting. Especially since, XP will give one of those stupid bubbles in the bottom right hand corner that says you are connected to {ssid} or something like that.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Negligence, as well as intent, can be the basis for a criminal charge (though I would think "intent" should be required to be shown for a felony charge). It all depends on the degree of negligence defined in the particular law.

frankf
frankf

Of course it's stealing. There is no debate about that. Is it ethical? of course not. Would I do it? You bet. I have no sympathy for people who stagger blindly through life by choice. If you buy a wireless router, and you don't have the common sense to A. Learn about its proper usage. B. Set it up correctly. C. Employ protection. then you deserve what you get. People lock their front doors for a reason.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

And if the fountain in my backyard is spraying the neighbor's lawn, is he obligated to catch the water and return it to me? You're broadcasting an invitation to connect.

The Firebrand
The Firebrand

1) They need to come on to your property to get water from your faucet, so they have to commit trespass, and then theft. However, if you leave your faucet running, is it stealing if they collect a bucket of water where it runs down the road gutter after leaving your property? I think not. 2) Your cordless phone answers your neighbours line? Stock? Or do you need to modify the phone to achieve this? Does thier phone broadcast here I am connect to me? messages? Just curious. It's GTA if I steal your car, but not if you hold the door open for me and say "feel free to sit inside and rev the bags off her. And help yourself to whatever's inside, just don't drive off." Rest assured that the ISP providing service to the owner of the open node will bill the owner of the node for any used badwidth however utilized. I'm just spitballing this around, but where is the line between a person or company spreading thier goods to the public at large and tacit authorization. Think of it another way, if I litter my office and the street outside with cheques made out to bearer in the amount of $100 and leave them lying around knowing they are there in a public place (where presumably I have little or no property rights) what right or recourse do I have if someone picks some up and cashes them? Not advocating anyone breaking thier local laws, I'm just saying that the point is a very fine one and the courts are going to be arguing it for a long time.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

1. It's not acceptable to use the outside faucet. But this is like a sprinkler going over the line into my lawn. 2. Cordless phones are more secure than many home wireless networks. While there are a limited number of base / handset combinations, the odds of having a match within range are pretty low. Another perspectve: unsecured access points actively broadcast a signal saying, "Here I am!" Is it GTA if you leave the keys in, the engine running, hold the door open, and yell, "Hey, my car's available to anyone who can hear me!" I'm just playing devil's advocate hrre. If the court's have ruled it's illegal, then it's illegal. But what if I don't use your broadband? If I access only your computer(s), not your web connection, then your ISP isn't involved.

TheChas
TheChas

The equipment manufactures configure their wire-less routers with security and encryption turn off for 1 reason. To reduce the number of calls for support. It's not that the average person cannot read a manual, it's that they won't take the time to read the manual. For that matter, have you tried to read and understand a modern manual for a device you know nothing about? Most of us here can read between the lines and fill in the gaps in a manual. Can you do the same for the fuel injection system on your car? Another thing, the average home user just wants to plug the thing in and have it work. If he has to spend an hour on the phone with tech support to adjust the security settings so that he can access the router what is he going to tell his friends at work about that brand of equipment? Chas

faradhi
faradhi

I thought no one could be worse than Time Warner. Boy I wish they would come back to our area. Comcast has kept me so busy with family and friends that I have decided that one day when I do actually get paid tv it will be a dish. They really messed up a lot of people when moving into this area. Apparently Comcastic is being dumped on.

jdclyde
jdclyde

you could have at least put in a note for the REASON of your edit! B-) Yours was the first time I recall reading a post with that generic title. It has been pointed out how STUPID it is to have it automatically do that, but clearly TPTB don't CARE if it is stupid or not, as they have decided to not fix it. [i] (ha ha, AB did a generic title, ha ha)

jdclyde
jdclyde

You get many that "feel" it is or isn't "fair", and they will base what passes for an argument on this fairness. They don't stop to think about what is actually going on, to get past that emotional involvement, so they are in turn unable to come up with a reasonable explanation why something should or shouldn't be allowed. In this specific case, they don't understand how networking operates, and don't realize that (like you pointed out) the access point it's self IS sending out invitations to connect. Someone invites you in, you are not stealing anything when you accept that invitation. Water landing in anothers yard? I hadn't heard that lame excuse. pity that.

Absolutely
Absolutely

:( Regarding "consistency between media" & "inviting people to connect", I remain curious why there are so many analogies to one neighbor's water landing in another's yard, and so few analogies to other communicaions media such as amateur radio. OK, I know YOU just like argument for argument's sake jdclyde, but what do you suppose is the motivation for the rest of them?

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

they could sell the devices with unique identifiers and all security in place, making the user responsible if he "un-secures" it.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

...yes. I'd class that as an invasion of my privacy. How can anyone defend what this guy did by saying, "It's the neighbours own fault!" Do you even have any morals?

Absolutely
Absolutely

I think that extending this analogy to include viewing the neighbors' television with binoculars puts it in better context. Stalker Peeping Tom etc.

Absolutely
Absolutely

"I'm just stating my position on the subject: if you don't want your neighbor's using it, you're going to get better results securing it than relying on the legal process." I can't argue with that -- at least, not sensibly!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Mainly because you can not prove that you where given permission to enter the Network or use the Bandwidth. I would love to see any WiFi Device on the Witness Stand telling the Judge that it gave permission for this to happen. Sorry it ain't going to happen ever as that device which you attribute giving permission isn't alive and is incapable of authorising anything except what it's been programed to do. If you are logging in because the unit was set to default to that position things are much worse than if the Owner had opened up that connection for others to use. But the real problem here isn't so much a bit of lost bandwidth but what is actually downloaded. Sure you can justify it all you like by implying that the person affected isn't loosing out much if at all but the reality is something different again. What if you download some [b]Kiddy Porn?[/b] When the person with that ISP gets arrested for this activity will you walk up to the police and admit to doing this criminal behaviour? My guess is [b]NO!!![/b] or else you would have done it on your own ISP wouldn't you. What no one has addressed here is what happens when [b]Illegal Activity[/b] is occurring which is the only good reason to steal something. Which is to cover your own @$$ from getting arrested for your preferred activity. The same applies to stealing Bandwidth to either receive or send Terrorist Related Material is it still acceptable to use someone's else's open WiFi to do this? If you think so I would just love the directions to make a [b]Suicide Bomb Vest[/b] perhaps I can use your WiFi connection to get this information? :D Col

Absolutely
Absolutely

"Whether it is asking a person as in example 1 or broadcasting a DHCP DISCOVER and then DHCP REQUEST as in example 2." Then, opposing counsel will explain that "DHCP DISCOVER", "DHCP REQUEST", "DHCP OFFER", etc. are only the names of networking protocols, which in fact are just patterns of positive & negative, or positive & zero, voltage. Whereas, the unauthorized user sees a connection name in Windows XP, and similarly in other operating systems, sees more than enough information to be certain that the router broadcasting those packets does not belong to you.

nentech
nentech

If we take the door to the house It could be said you were given permission to enter the house because it was not locked But you turned the handle to open the door The bolt that holds the door closed is also a lock or a latch If the door is open it is all right to look in But it is not all right to step through the door Some people have forgotten the law says you do not have permission to enter the house An open door is not permission to enter the house This is the same as an open wireless connection You may look but you may not enter the network

IT Pro Indiana
IT Pro Indiana

I think that we can all agree that stealing is morally, ethically and legally wrong. But from a legal standpoint, I believe by giving permission to enter your network you also give permission to use the services which are granted to Guests of the network. Using your example from above. If you invite me into your house and there is a bowl of candy on a coffee table, is it wrong for me to eat a piece of that candy? No. If I open the pantry or refrigerator door and remove something from it, is that wrong? Yes. Why is one wrong and the other not? Because you applied a type of security to the pantry and refrigerator, i.e. a door. I am just playing a little devil's advocate here, but from a LEGAL standpoint, I do not believe that one could be found guilty of stealing. From a moral/ethical standpoint I am a little torn. I DO believe WarDriving or just accessing networks to see what you can find is morally/ethically wrong. If I am lost and I use my laptop to connect to your unsecured network and then access the internet to use mapquest.com, I do not have any moral or ethical problems with that.

MyLittleMansAnIdiot
MyLittleMansAnIdiot

Think of it this way, I invite you into my house, does that then give you permission to help yourself to my pantry and refrigerator, or to use my telephone? The idea of permission to a network and the right to utilise services that are connected to that network based on the fact that someone who's a resident of that network has permission speaks highly of the moral and ethical standards held by those people attempting to defend the actions of someone who, is infact, stealing bandwidth.

IT Pro Indiana
IT Pro Indiana

If you give me permission to access your network do you not also inherently give permission to use the services available to me on the network. And if you have granted all users on your network the permissions to use a broadband connection, I have then been given inherent permission to use that connection. In your Louvre example, you failed to remember that the artwork is secured. In computer terms, I am given read permissions to see the artwork, but not WXD to remove or modify the artwork. In my example, from "2 scenarios..." if I were to attempt to hack into a server on the network which I was not given inherent or explicit permission to access then "yes" I would be breaking the law. But since I was given permission to access the network and all network users have permission to use the internet connection, I have been inherently given permission to use the internet connection on your network. Big difference.

Tig2
Tig2

I have been the victim of ID theft. When it happened, there were very few who understood. I have taken extraordinary steps since then to protect myself. As I said, you're one of the good guys. Thank you for taking the step of explaining. I know that I appreciate it.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

Also there is more than one way to be NETGEAR.. In that "stupid bubble" many Stupid Joe Users may look, but not all can 'see' everything that is there. My history of thefts is my getout and "the wood for the trees" is my motto. Faradhi now understands, perhaps you can too.

Tig2
Tig2

I took the elementary step- as do many others- of naming the wireless connection point with a unique name. Mycroft, you can generally be a good guy. Don't flame other peers. Faradhi had a good point. In the US, you SHOULD have changed the name of your connection point as an elementary step. If you have not done- at least here- you are either negligent or Joe User. It may very well be different where you are. As an American, discussing an American case, that will be decided by an American court, it is possible that we are not examining the British connection issues. Perhaps we should with all the appropriate disclaimers. Let's not denigrate one another. Choose to not flame when you can explain.

sdomescik
sdomescik

The stupid bubble on my machine tells me what SSID I am connected to, what the speed is, and wether it is secured or not, and the signal strength. Sounds like you have not done anything to secure your connection. As far as stealing the signal goes...I don't feel I should have to pay for the neighbors internet, therefore I secured my connection. If you don't take the steps to secure your connection, you are asking for someone to use it.

faradhi
faradhi

I would suggest, that your next purchase of a wireless card include it's own wireless configuration utility. The one I have, Intel PROset, shows the Access point's MAC address in the config. That way, unless someone is spoofing the mac, you can be relatively certian that you are connecting to the correct AP.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

Lets just say I didn't and still don't want to stick out. The local Constabulary know me well. I'm the poor sap that had over ?3,000 worth of 2 NBs stolen within 5 months. Any method by which I meld into the background suits me verrry well thank you.

faradhi
faradhi

If you do not for some reason have physical access to a router then trial and error is your only recourse. However, I still question why someone who knows better would be "happily doing what you enjoy doing, insulting fellow professionals on TR forums - only to find at some later point in time that you are in fact on someone else's wireless node - NOT YOUR OWN!". The SSID should be changed to something unique and it should be secured. To give mycroft the benefit of the doubt are there cases in GB where the SSID cannot be changed? --edited to change it to are for clarity, {I know my posts are usually as clear as mud but I do try :) }

faradhi
faradhi

I have a netgear router and I can change the SSID. oh and MMFNMFFF. Oops toffees. Sorry.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I delivered a NB recently and when I attempted to log it on to the WiFi Access Point I found 25 Open WiFi Points in either the block of flats that he lived in or the one beside him. Then I cut it down to just his ISP and there where 5 connections to his ISP. Now in a situation like that when you have just walked in cold I defy anyone to know what they are doing beyond all doubt. Sure it wasn't like that when I left the place as then there where only 4 of that ISP's Connections open to members of the General Public. But in a case like that you are up against things from the start. Of course the WiFi Access Point had to be in a bedroom that his 15 year old daughter was sleeping in so it just made things that much easier to work around. :( Col

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

I don't know what hardware manufacturers you have available in your part of the planet, but here in the UK the telephone companies have the major share of the market. The "stupid bubble" you so colloquially describe says the following to me: Wireless Network Connection (NETGEAR) Speed: 25 Mbps Signal Strength: Very Good Status: Connected Now - you tell me where in that "stupid bubble" it informs me that I am NOT connected to my wireless access point. Given that British Telecom's biggest seller is a wireless modem called NETGEAR! Go on! Tell me! Oh! and the next time you post, try taking the toffees out of your mouth first!

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

These ARE strongly cloaked by precedents, far too many for my liking from a recent personal foray, in which I became a Litigator. Many hours ensued in Inverness Reference Library, digging through books on Scots Law. You are ABSOLUTELY correct (pardon the pun! :p ) that by current definition, individual rights and individual responsibility have come into play. However, the precedent states that you are guilty of the Quasi-Delict if you have, by ignoring a factotum, allowed misfortune to fall (albeit not by your own hand) upon the shoulders of another, irrespective of whether the result was physical injury or financial loss. Quasi-Delict is considered, under Scots Law to be the avoidance of that required by a statute, rather than deliberately subverting the statute. Either way, ignoring a law is no excuse.

Absolutely
Absolutely

In contemporary Britain and her former colonies, I believe that there is generally more emphasis, in negligence laws & precedents, on whether any endangerment is committed knowingly. In other words, "negligence" is more strictly defined today, in favor of individual rights and individual responsibility, than during the Roman Empire. Agree or disagree?

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

but the strange but true fact is, they'll sell technology to the most ignorant people. Can you really expect them to do more than plug it in and turn it on?

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

The Romans specified negligence could be a basis for a criminal charge on the basis of a quasi-delict: that the negligent act caused harm to someone by its non-application qualities. I fear that, in this case , the quasi-delict would be equally applicable to both parties - 1. for not securing the wireless node, 2. for not checking which wireless signal was being accessed, So TWO NEGLIGENCES thereby cancelling each other out. The blade of negligence cuts both ways.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Until someone lacking ethics gave them reason too. What makes you any different from those that demonstraited a reason to lock your door?

Absolutely
Absolutely

I am not passing out movie tickets.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm going to have a seat. As someone else said, if you pass out signed blank checks, I'm going to cash one. If your car is on my lawn, expect me to drive it. If you broadcast an unrestricted offer over the public airways to assign a DHCP address on your network, expect me to use it. Radio stations aren't broadcasting a signal that says, "Here's our equipment signature, come use it." It's impossible to innocently use your radio to broadcast over a radio station's frequency by mistake. It's quite easy to innocently connect to your neighbor's wireless network. I'm not saying all access is innocent or inadvertent, but it can happen.

Absolutely
Absolutely

But wireless routers and personal computers are private property. DHCP protocols are described with terminology that implies that a connection is "offered". But, reception of a radio station gives you no right to use that radio station's transmitter. Likewise, reception of the electromagnetic waves which transmit a DHCPOFFER packet give you no right to use the hardware transmitting that packet if that hardware does not already belong to you. A transmitted network protocol is not an "invitation to connect".

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

" Next thing you know, we'll have to believe that we are all responsible every time some idiot robs a store, a bank or steals a car. " That's not such a hard thing to imagine. Currently, you have a responsibility to report a robbery or theft and related details if you witness it (being a good member of society). And a further responsibility if questioned directly even though you didn't report it (obstruction of justice). In some cultures, you could be held criminally accountable for being related to the person who perpetrated the theft or robbery through whatever population grouping that culture recognizes. An old and rather outdated example would be a land owner exterminating a village or family within the village for the crimes of one of it's members. Mind you, I'm very happy that my local culture and government has a presumption of innocence without the despotic approach to controlling the population.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Who rely on the lack of knowledge of end users. They can roll up with a NB download something less than nice on an open WiFi Access Point then simply drive off and leave the responsibility with the person who owns that Open WiFi Connection to carry the can for others crimes. This is what is the hard thing here as they need to realise that they are responsible for what gets downloaded and need to advise the proper authorities when something less than savoury gets downloaded. But when you don't know any better how do you protect yourself? Col

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

As professionals we have a responsibility to inform our neighbors when they have a problem, and when we can determine who's got their electronic zippers undone. But without going door to door, this can be difficult. Part of the problem in the U.S. is our cultural bias against R'ing the DM. Every one of those routers came with instructions on how to secure it. "Oh, but that's on a CD and I'd have to load it and read all those technical thingies ... " It's your ISP bill, dude, not mine.

Sylvain_L
Sylvain_L

I've been reading through most of the posts, seeing a clear dividing line between those that say it's fine to use someone's bandwith and those that say it isn't. Most say that because we are professionals, that we have a responsibility to tell those people that are broadcasting their access points, that they are doing so. Just from my appartment I get between 30 and 35 routers advertising their presence, all of which have very useless names when it comes to finding out the owner. Telling someone of the risks when you know whom it is is all good and fine, but it's completely irrational to think that we have, due to some misguided sense of "fairness", the moral obligation to make it our duty to find and inform every Joe Anyone that thinks that because he managed to find the WAN port on a wireless router, that he is an expert; of his misinformed installation. Next thing you know, we'll have to believe that we are all responsible every time some idiot robs a store, a bank or steals a car.

Tig2
Tig2

I get where you're going, Palmetto. But this is the disconnect as I see it. I am an IT professional of many years (can we all say keypunch? No? Durned youngsters!). As a result of a specialized knowledge, I have capabilities that are beyond the average consumer. I can choose to see this two ways. First, I can say that hopping on their bandwidth is OK if they haven't secured it. The sprinkler over the fence thing. Second, I can say to myself that my neighbours don't have my specialized knowledge and set out to share that knowledge with them. Or to go back to the sprinkler, point out to my neighbour that moving it a few inches is beneficial to him. To me, the issue is ethical. Your mileage may vary. No slaps here... but I am sending you a nudge!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

And it's a totally different thing when someone just takes what they don't own. In the case above if the Fountain was to spread water over the boundary line and you do nothing about this then it's your responsibility not the person on the other side of the fence that you are providing water to. But I don't agree with your argument at all as this is something way different to something as easy as water blowing over a fence. That you can see and take responsibility for if you desire, in the case of an Open WiFi Point the owners in every case that I've run across are unaware of this happening. Recently at one flat when delivering a new Computer I found 25 open WiFi access points then 5 WiFi Access Points from the ISP that the owner was using all unsecured and it was more of a problem to find the one that I should be using than finding an open Access Point that I could Log On through. Yes I did lock it down once I had found the WiFi Access Point but this was a perfect example of just how inherently insecure any WiFi connection actually is. Col

TheChas
TheChas

While the owner of the wireless network will be charged for any bandwidth used, any other person using the connection would still be considered theft of services by the ISP. The logic being that the person accessing the wire-less connection did not pay for the services. Thinking back to an old news story about people being disconnected from their cable internet service, I wonder how many of those were disconnected not because of how much bandwidth they used as was presumed at the time, but because they had open wire-less LANS that other people were connecting to? If you look at most ISP terms of services for a personal account, you are not allowed to share the connection outside of members of your immediate household. Same with your cable or satellite TV service. You are not allowed to broadcast or share the signal. As to your other scenarios, it is the device, not the user who broadcasts that there is a wire-less connection available. Is it right on any level to take advantage of someone who does not know how to configure their devices, or what the device does that they don't know about? Chas

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]excellent soil conditioner[/i] I should tell my neighbor that after my dog poops on his lawn... "Hey man, just doin' you a favor!" :)

TheChas
TheChas

I did not write Michigan's law that makes it a felony to access a wire-less network without authorization. Nor, was I involved in the Federal laws and regulations that make it a crime to snoop around in someone else's network. For that matter, I am not in any position to enforce these laws either. However, one should keep in mind that someone with an axe to grind against their neighbor in Michigan and several other states could set up an open wire-less network and then report to the police everyone who accesses their network. Whether access was benign or willful, it could still be prosecuted. Based on what I have read about Michigan's law, it does rest more on the user to know what network they are accessing then it does on the wire-less router owner to secure the network. Since we cannot outlaw stupidity, perhaps there should be a training course and a test required before one can purchase a wire-less router. Chas

mjfera
mjfera

So let's say you're not terribly tech-savvy but you think it would be really cool to be able to sit on your back deck with your laptop and buy stuff on E-Bay while sipping a daquiri. You run up to Best Buy, bring home your LinkSys and have your 12 year old nephew hook it all up for you (since he's the computer guru in the family). You fire up the laptop and manage to find the "View Available Wireless Networks". To your dismay there are 7 of them. You don't happen to notice those green bars on the side, and just decide to pick the one with the coolest name. Before you can say Grand Theft Wireless, you're surfing E-Bay! The next day, TheChas shows up at your door with the FCC in tow and hauls your felonious backside off to Sing Sing.

TheChas
TheChas

I don't have the link to the old thread on war-driving. But, there were links in the old thread to US Federal laws and regulations where it clearly is against US law to access content on any network that you do not have specific authorized access to. Chas

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I see what you're getting at but I also know that I have a 350MB download limit per day on Hughes.net satellite. You could easily get my ISP to throttle my bandwidth back for 24 hours in less than two hours time. I pay roughly (have to ask my wife) $70.00 a month for their service as I live in the boondocks and it's the only thing approaching broadband speeds available. No DSL and no cable is available. So, if my neighbor cracked my wireless network, used my bandwidth and I got throttled back to

Kjell_Andorsen
Kjell_Andorsen

Thank you so much for a well-thought-out, rational and sane analysis of what's actually being discussed. It's so nice to see someone that doesn't have a knee-jerk reaction about the issue. Bandwidth theft might be theft, but is it right to throw people in jail for using bandwidth that is most likely not getting used anyway? If I have a 5mps cable connection and someone uses a tiny fraction of that to check their e-mail I'm not going to notice it. 95% of the time I won't be using my full bandwidth anyway. They do not need to spend up to 5 years in prison for it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Chopped leaves are an excellent soil conditioner.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I thought my amateur radio metaphor was quite good, but I have to admit, yours captures the [i]spirit[/i] of war-driving MUCH better! :^0 Good one!

Absolutely
Absolutely

by naming the movie? Or, if you can't recall, the star will do. I would quibble with a couple of your extrapolations, but on the balance, your screed was thoroughly enjoyable. Are you hiring?

Jim Rodgers
Jim Rodgers

Man! I've rarely heard such pathetic arguements on BOTH side of an issue! Is it not clear that anyone here really wants to understand anything. It's just a one-upsmanship sort of a thing going on. Be honest and be realistic. What are your intentions? What do you really want to happen? First of all, one should probably separate the civil from the criminal issues of liability. The reasons for both kinds of law is to help prevent harm. What if my young daughter accidentally connected to your insecure WiFi and was harmed (in any number of ways!) by the content she encountered. On my network, I protect her by reasonable means. Now I can imagine you might say it was my fault because I did supervise her online time personally every minute. But if you were to take that position, you will reveal yourself to be a frivolous argumentative fruit. (Such as those who grow in great abundance in this forum, apparently.) Certainly, mental maturity seems to be lacking here. Consider, if you will, the difference between intellectual dishonesty and stupidity. Is it not true that intellectual dishonesty (Self Deception) is far more repugnant that mere stupidity? At least stupidity has no agenda! It is this attitude that "I want to be upset, self righteous, and indignant about something" -- and this lust for ignoring the truth -- these are the things that get us into wars in Iraq, and lead Islamists to martyrdom. Back to the issue at hand, I ask you: what are the damages? You think this guy in his car outside the cafe really was a felon? You really do? If he tried to drive away, then would he be an escaping felon? Would you shoot to kill in order to stop this criminal from escaping Justice? Get a life you little weasle! Let's talk about damages. If I used your WiFi to break into your LAN and computers, and I stole valuable information -- or maybe I erased you precious data -- are these not real damages? Of course they are! This is what we should be talking about. What about stealing your "bandwidth"? Well, hmmm, lets see: for 2 hours I use an average of 5% of you bandwidth from your cable modem. You pay $50/month for this bandwidth. That comes to 14 cents if I "stole" 100% of 2 hours, and a whopping 0.7 cents if you understand the facts about how much bandwidth typically is used in checking one's e-mails. This is not a felony. You don't take away a man's civil rights for stealing one cent. Okay, wait... I hear it now: the self-deceived are chiming-in! Oh yeah, well what if this and what if that? How about that? Well, fine. But first you confess to the truth in what I just explained, then I will listen. First you tell me this: Why is this man in his car a felon? If you can't admit to this simple truth that he is not, then it bespeaks yout intentions -- your determination that you can't stand to lose an arguement... that you cannot be honest and reasonable. There is one way to make this guy a felon: one must twist logic to the extreme -- in the manner of a reactionary, emotionally-driven (if not utterly apoplectic) "mommy's tight-lipped little chauvinist." To wit, "If we let him get away with this, then..." This Republican-esque come back is typical of the Self Deceived. It is not wisdom; it is something else. It causes hurt. It causes damage. Quit trying to make demons of other people. Quit it! The bottom line is that when [real] courts get a real case along these lines, we must eventually ask the question: if it is so valuable, then to what lengths did you go to protect these valuable things? When you can show someone had to go to great lengths to crack the password or spoof something or whatever, their guilt and the value of the theft are demonstrated all at once. So, folks... You want to convict this guy of a felony for stealing something of very little value that you made essentially no efforts to protect. I wonder who was beaten as child.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

setting a glass under the spraying water, drinking it, then peeing on your neighbor's yard :)

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

make my neighbor rake the leaves and twigs that fall from his tree into my yard, which is treeless.

Cactus Pete
Cactus Pete

"1. It's not acceptable to use the outside faucet. But this is like a sprinkler going over the line into my lawn." Having witnessed a single drop of water does not then grant you the option to begin siphoning off as much of the stream as you desire at any future date. " Another perspectve: unsecured access points actively broadcast a signal saying, "Here I am!" Is it GTA if you leave the keys in, the engine running, hold the door open, and yell, "Hey, my car's available to anyone who can hear me!" " The car and front door analogies aren't very good. No matter what, if you have not given express permission to someone to come and take what you own, and they take it, they have committed a crime. When someone has an unsecured AP broadcasting beyond the confines of their own property, what does that mean to your accessibility of that item? For instance, if you can see over my fence to the beach ball next to the swimming pool, does that then give you the right to enter my property and take what you see? Obviously, the answer is no. You DO commit a trespass at some point to gain access. The owner should be expected to make reasonable security efforts. But the term 'reasonable' comes into play when the user must be technically informed and capable. Given that a device is sold to the masses, and perhaps even installed by the service provider, security needs to be part of the manufacturers' concern. However, until held responsible for this by a court with a big settlement, no manufacturer will do it unless a law is specifically applied to this matter. But let's get back to the real problem - you wouldn't be connecting to the unsecured AP unless you were deliberately trying to. For all of you who would purposefully steal the connection just because you can, don't ever come to me looking for a job. My employees are held to higher ethical standards.

Absolutely
Absolutely

I like the radio station analogy. The broadcast of call letters was never asserted to be an offer to use any radio broadcast equipment but one's own. The other analogies presented here only serve, when analyzed carefully & followed to their logical consequences, to illustrate the speciousness of the position they represent.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't really like the car analogy; it was TheChas's and I was trying to make it work. But if your car is parked in my driveway without my permission, with the key in and the engine running, I'm going to take it to the mall. I like the sprinkler analogy much better. It provides a physical analogy similar to a signal. Put a WPA key on your wireless equipment and I won't connect to it. Set your sprinkler so it doesn't cover my yard and I won't move my basket of begonias under it.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Palmetto says: [i]"Hey, my car's available to anyone who can hear me!"[/i] DHCP offer dropped. Try re-phrasing, like so: "Hey, [b]my[/b] car is in working order, operative, and ready to be driven -- by its rightful owner!" Vehicles have Identification Numbers. Networks have identification strings. If you don't own the vehicle, or network, it isn't yours to drive. Your argument is specious.

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