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Recently a man was arrested in Florida, and charged with computer crimes, for leaching a WiFi connection. ZDNet has an FAQ about the case here. He’d driven his Chevy Blazer around a neighborhood, found an open WiFi access point, and was using it. 

In my neighborhood, devices in my home can reach as many as 5 different access points in addition to my own.  My access points are WEP secured. If necessary I will go to MAC address filtering.  Most of my neighbours do the same.  However, WiFi access points broadcast in public, unlicensed spectrum. They reach far beyond the boundaries of individual property. 

So, if a user of public spectrum is broadcasting an unsecured signal into a public space, then who is liable?   My contention is that the intent of the owner of the access point must be to share it.  

More commentary, here, on News.COM.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Andy July 8, 2005, 8:53 am

    I humbly admit, mine is wide open. I found the Linksys documentation really crappy for 2 minutes I gave it. The story underlines the importance of taking the time to RTFM :)

  • Alec July 9, 2005, 4:44 am

    Yeah – the docs are not as good as they could be. If you have the Linksys WRT54GS, go to this page on your router — http://your_router_IP/WL_WPATable.asp — and set the WEP up there. Then go to your PC's, and set up the wireless internet connection with the same key. It's a five minute job!

    Oh, and by the way, change the password on your router to something else other than the default. Lots of people leave the default on, which is like leaving the key to your house in the lock of the door.

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