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Be careful when using an open WiFi connection you find

Discussion in 'Bits & Bytes' started by tke711, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    Because this guy just got arrested for it.

    [bl]Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony.

    Police say Smith admitted using the Wi-Fi signal from the home of Richard Dinon, who had noticed Smith sitting in an SUV outside Dinon's house using a laptop computer.[/bl]

    While the geek in me wants to put some of the blame on the victim for not securing his network, theft is theft, and the idiot in the SUV deserves to be charged. However, I'm not sure a felony is warranted unless he was doing something illegal on the connection.
     
  2. saber11

    saber11 Veteran Member

    This guy was an idiot. He used it for hours. Hop on, then off, like turning around in someone's driveway don't park your car.
     
  3. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    No doubt the guy is an idiot. I guess the bigger question is should this be a felony? Of course, in this particular case, it's hard to make a judgment on that since there isn't much in the way of details.
     
  4. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    If I recall, wouldn't this fall under "breaking into a system"? If so, that would fall under federal statutes and quite possibly the Patriot Act.
     
  5. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    That didn't cross my mind, but it sounds plausible.
     
  6. Pyrion

    Pyrion Liquid Metal Nanomorph

    How would it be breaking into something that's wide open for public use in the first place?

    Much of what I have to say on the subject is here.
     
  7. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Pardon? If I'm running Wi-Fi from my home, it is NOT for public use.
     
  8. Pyrion

    Pyrion Liquid Metal Nanomorph

    If you leave it wide open for anyone to access, yes it is. That's the nature of the Internet.
     
  9. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Bull. I pay for my connection. You are not authorized to mooch off of what I already pay for. It is not free for your use.
     
  10. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    The nature of things considered, that's not the nature of the law. ;)
     
  11. Pyrion

    Pyrion Liquid Metal Nanomorph

    Then lock it off from unauthorized use. You're the admin -- secure your system so that only those whom you want accessing it can access it.

    If you intentionally refuse to do that, then you intentionally allow the outside world to "mooch" off your connection.
     
  12. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    No.. The "world" needs to abide by the law. Steal what isn't rightfully yours and be prepared to face the consequences.
     
  13. Pyrion

    Pyrion Liquid Metal Nanomorph

    The "law" in this case is retarded. An open WAP by intentional design is open to the public. It's like if I was sitting on the sidewalk reading a book at night, lit by your front porch light. Technically I'd be "stealing" light and electricity from you but it's technically up to you to limit where your light goes.

    If you don't want someone "mooching" off your electrical bill, erect a wall (or alternatively, turn the damn light off). It's the same thing here. If you don't want someone "mooching" off your net connection, lock it off from public use.
     
  14. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Nice try. The law is specific and was applied correctly in this case. You can not take what is not rightfully yours. It's theft of service as well as unlawful use of a network. President has been set for a VERY long time regarding use of networks, regardless of whether it's secure or not.
     
  15. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    I'm afraid I agree with Pyrion on this. The law is wrong. If you willingly leave your wireless network unsecure, then you're intentionally allowing people to use it. Regardless of the law, if you do leave your WAP unsecured and don't want to allow people to connect to your network, leaving it unsecured isn't the most intelligent thing to do.
     
  16. Pyrion

    Pyrion Liquid Metal Nanomorph

    Indeed. If you don't want people peeking through your window, close the damn blinds.
     
  17. Pyrion

    Pyrion Liquid Metal Nanomorph

    Then wouldn't it technically be illegal for the owner of the wide-open WAP to be sharing (in this case, INTENTIONALLY sharing) the connection with the outside world? I'm pretty sure his provider's acceptable use policy doesn't allow sharing the connection with the neighbors. :)
     
  18. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Whether it's a smart thing to do or not is irrelevant. Likewise, leaving it open is not an invitation to use it. We rightfully blame burglary victims all the time for leaving their houses unlocked, that does not absolve the burglar. Just because the WIFI default is to automatically glaum onto an open network, it does not follow that it's yours to use and peruse.
     
  19. Pyrion

    Pyrion Liquid Metal Nanomorph

    Except permissions are explicitly defined on the Internet. The client connects to the server and ASKS for permission to access what the server is serving. If the server is properly configured, the server may say no, in which case it is only then breaking and entering if the client bypasses this.

    But if the server says yes to a public request, then it is technically open to the public.
     
  20. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Bullshit. The only people knowingly hitchhiking on open wifis are bandwidth pirates.
     

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