Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Wi-Fi mooching and the law

Filed under
Legal

A man sitting in a Chevy Blazer in a residential neighborhood reportedly was poking around nearby wireless networks in violation of computer crime laws, according to local police.

This appears to be the first arrest in which the sole offense was allegedly accessing a wireless network without prior authorization, and it's already being viewed as a probable test case. CNET News.com interviewed legal scholars to ask what rules apply to Wi-Fi (also called 802.1x) hot spots.

Is it legal to use someone's Wi-Fi connection to browse the Web if they haven't put a password on it?
Nobody really knows. "It's a totally open question in the law," says Neal Katyal, a professor of criminal law at Georgetown University. "There are arguments on both sides."

That doesn't make much sense. Is there a specific law that regulates Wi-Fi access?
Sort of. The primary law is the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

You can read it for yourself, but the important part (check out paragraph (a)(2)) covers anyone who "intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access." Nobody knows exactly what that means in terms of wireless connections. The law was written in 1986 to punish computer hacking--and nobody contemplated 802.1x wireless links back then.

What do prosecutors think?

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Gaming

Fedora: The Latest

Leftovers: KDE

  • ocs-client GSoC
    So my GSoC is coming to its end. I have no cool screenshots to upload this time and I have no new great features to talk about, in fact Caludio and I manly focused on bugfixing and testing. We have spent time also discussing about possible changes and improvements to the current OCS protocol. So is the client ready do be lunched? In short I would say that no, not yet.. although most of its features are implemented and it is usable, it is still an “under construction” project, we both still have to make some important decisions to make it usable to everyone.
  • The Fiber Engine Poll, Updates, and Breeze
  • Bringing Akonadi Next up to speed
    and refactoring it again, to make sure the codebase remains as clean as possible. The result of that is that an implementation of a simple resource only takes a couple of template instantiations, apart from code that interacts with the datasource (e.g. your IMAP Server) which I obviously can’t do for the resource.
  • New linter integration plugins for KDevelop
  • Artikulate Plans for Randa
    Language learning is often considered as the task of memorizing new vocabulary and understanding the new grammar rules. Yet for most, the most challenging part is to actually get used to speak the new language. This is a problem that Artikulate approaches with a simple idea: to learn the correct pronunciation of a word or even a longer phrase, the learner listens to a native speaker recording, repeats and recordings it, and finally compares both recordings to improve herself/himself with the next try.

Tails 1.5.1 is out

Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.5.1, is out. This is an emergency release, triggered by an unscheduled Firefox release meant to fix critical security issues. Read more