There are criminals among us 07 Jul 2005

32 comments Latest by Mr. Blue

Police have arrested a man for using someone else’s Wi-Fi.

32 comments so far (Jump to latest)

pixelenator 07 Jul 05

I dont think they should make a big deal out of it, i mean if you dont want anybody to use your wi fi net, just add a password, or define which mac addresses you would wanna allow on your network.

United Kingdom 07 Jul 05

There are criminals among us

London 7/7
New York 9/11

The perpetrators of the above are criminals, not someone who accesses an unencrypted unsecured wireless network!

N. 07 Jul 05

If you’re guilty and you know it clap your hands…

Art Wells 07 Jul 05

Though in this case they may prove some criminal intent, it is hard to call it “intrusion” or “trespass” when most wireless APs I see in the wild are not only lacking any protection, they are configured to give out IP numbers and dns to any wifi capable device. Sure, the owners don’t know any better, but is that someone else’s fault?

This is analogy is poor, but this is somewhat similar to handing out addressed invitations and then screaming for the police when people come to your party.

Benjy 07 Jul 05

Art, it’s more like leaving your front door unlocked and calling the police when a stranger chooses to enter your home.

Jeff Hartman 07 Jul 05

“itís more like leaving your front door unlocked and calling the police when a stranger chooses to enter your home”

If something is not “secure”, that makes it okay?

Dan Boland 07 Jul 05

Art, itís more like leaving your front door unlocked and calling the police when a stranger chooses to enter your home.

Or if you strew your living room furniture all over your yard and into the street, then call the cops when someone sits on your couch.

Art Wells 07 Jul 05

Yah, I like y’all’s better.

But I do want something in the analogy that is parallel to the dhcp and dns services that these things hand out—They make it so that some people can actually accidentally use your service and are very antithetical to boundaries.

Mark B 07 Jul 05

The hard thing is that there’s no obvious way to tell the difference between a private access point and a public one. What happens if I am in the coffee shop down the street but inadvertently use their neighbor’s wifi?

Dan, yes, that’s a great analogy.

Mark B 07 Jul 05

… in fact, accidental “wardriving” happens all the time. At work I have more than once had people call me saying that their internet connection works fine but they can’t print… doh, connected to someone else’s network. Is this a crime?

Luke P 07 Jul 05

I do hope and believe that it is only a matter of time before wireless might be a public service, available to everyone.
But of course the isps would probably start a civil war.

Isnt it comparable to public radio or broadcast tv? It should be free - we pay enough taxes for it!

Randy 07 Jul 05

Isnt it comparable to public radio or broadcast tv? It should be free - we pay enough taxes for it

1. Radio isn’t free. It’s ad supported.
2. Broadcast TV isn’t free. It’s ad supported.

Want ads all over your wireless? Every 10 sites you visit you want a commercial before you can view the 11th site? Oh, I doubt it. The most complained about things are ads. The second most complained about things are things that aren’t free. It don’t add up.

Things cost money. Either you pay or the advertisers pay, but *someone* pays and it’s not *free*.

Mike 07 Jul 05

I find it kind of strange the guy is just sitting out in his car in front of Richard Dinon’s house. You can’t sling a dead cat without finding plenty of free wi-fi spots. Go milk a $2 cup of coffee instead of sitting in your car.

Dan Boland 07 Jul 05

1. Radio isnít free. Itís ad supported.
2. Broadcast TV isnít free. Itís ad supported.

I think the crux of what Luke P is saying is that access to the internet as a medium should be free, just as it is for the radio or a television. Ads are just content on a medium. They do not contribute to the support or existence of a particular medium, but to the entity using it.

Rep. Rick Boucher is a huge proponent of adding broadband internet to the list on universally supported media. This interview is an insightful read.

Lau Taarnskov 07 Jul 05

Why not provide “free” access to food and clothes too? It’s my right to force you to pay for it. They tried something like that in Russia, and it kind of worked…

I can’t see any reason for leeching off of people who don’t want a gov. ISP, except for forcing them to pay for what you want.

Oh, and I like Dan Bolands analogy. Many systems automatically joins unencrypted wlans.

On the other hand. Should you be able to sue the guy for sending WiFi signals onto your property? Ridiculous, but not as much as suing for joining an open network that is available in your own home.

matthew 07 Jul 05

a little more detail in the original st petersburg article: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/862546271.html?MAC=6c1d284704b371483970fd1c3d20311c&did=862546271&FMT=FT&FMTS=FT&date=Jul+4%2C+2005&author=ALEX+LEARY&pub=&printformat=&desc=Wi-Fi+cloaks+a+new+breed+of+intruder

setting aside the lack of security, what’s interesting to me is this guy that got arrested had been parked outside the house for a couple of hours before the homeowner called the police.

i think, under those circumstances, even I would call the police, and my network is using WPA and an approved mac ID list.

matthew 07 Jul 05

pardon me while i try that link again.

st petersburg article

indi 07 Jul 05

in a way it’s kind of like calling the cops for someone picking up the fruit that fell off your tree onto the sidewalk

kmilden 07 Jul 05

Who called the cops?

kmilden 07 Jul 05

Who called the cops?

matt 08 Jul 05

indi —> yes, that’s true. except, in this case, after picking up the fruit, you sat outside my house for several hours to eat the fruit.

Best yet 08 Jul 05

It’s like someone taking a dump in a toilet you left by the curb for the city to dispose of.

..ak 08 Jul 05

When I purchased DSL it came with a wireless router. Nowhere in the documentation/installation instructions did it mention how to set up security or password protecting your wireless network.

Most computers with wifi come with “Autodetect/autoconnect” turned on and wireless routers default to “accept everyone”. If it works most people don’t notice there could be a problem. It’s not like they can see other people using your systems.

How do you differentiate between free access points and misconfigured points? If you’re used to going to a coffeeshop for free access, how do you know if you’re connecting to the right base station?

I still have problems understanding all the acronynms and the technical jargon to figure out what is going on.

Darre; 08 Jul 05

Neither our elected officials nor judicial understand anything about the digital technology world. It’s so embarassing.

..ak 08 Jul 05

When I purchased DSL it came with a wireless router. Nowhere in the documentation/installation instructions did it mention how to set up security or password protecting your wireless network.

Most computers with wifi come with “Autodetect/autoconnect” turned on and wireless routers default to “accept everyone”. If it works most people don’t notice there could be a problem. It’s not like they can see other people using your systems.

How do you differentiate between free access points and misconfigured points? If you’re used to going to a coffeeshop for free access, how do you know if you’re connecting to the right base station?

I still have problems understanding all the acronynms and the technical jargon to figure out what is going on. I can’t expect everyone else to be an expert either

Darrel 08 Jul 05

“I canít expect everyone else to be an expert either”

No, but I expect lawmakers passing laws on a subject to read up on things, as well as the judges attempting to interpret said laws.

kingbenny 08 Jul 05

Dan’s analogy is pretty good, except I don’t think sitting on somebody’s couch in their front yard is really legal either, unless they allow you to do so.

James 08 Jul 05

kingbenny’s right…sitting on someone’s couch without permission probably isn’t legal. However, you could take the analogy of another common utility, water. If someone is running a sprinkler on their front lawn and it is spilling over into the street, then is it wrong for passersby to take refreshment in the water on a hot day…or to sit and let a cup fill up with water to drink?

These might be great analogies if water or personal property (furniture) were anything like an electronic communications medium that trades information packets from a device to other devices. Perhaps these situations are all similar in the idea that someone is either tresspassing or taking something of value from you, but they are all so disimlar in kind and can have such different consequences/implications that it seems that they should each be treated separately. I do enjoy the semantics of it all, however.

Don Schenck 08 Jul 05

Forget the analogies for a moment and consider this: The guy will be charged with a felony. A felony! For cryin’ out loud!

“What are ya in for?”

“I raped and murdered a teen. You?”

“I used my neighbor’s unsecured wireless connection to check my email.”

“You’re sick …”

Darrel 08 Jul 05

However, you could take the analogy

Well, here is the problem. In the digital world, physical analogies never work. There’s always a ‘but’ involved.

So, what do we do? We pass new laws that pertain to the digital realm. Who writes and passes these laws? Lawmakers with little to no knowledge of the subject who gain most of their insights from industry lobbyists and ‘terrist, terrist, terrist’ rantings from the administration.

James 08 Jul 05

Thanks Darrel. I too was trying to show where analogies to the physical world break down. Let’s hope our lawmakers don’t screw up as bad as we think they might.

Mr. Blue 13 Jul 05

What boggles my mind is why the guy in the truck just didn’t leave? Once you’ve been discovered isn’t the logical thing to do is leave and find another open net? it’s not like they’re not all over the place!

it’s like leaving your door unlocked and blaming the guy who broke in. It’s your own responsibility to secure your own stuff.

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