31 March 2006 | 14,736 views

Jacking Wifi is ‘OK’ say Ethics Expert

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Honestly, I always thought it’s ok..

Why not, if someone puts a seat in the middle of a public walkway I can sit on it right? I don’t need to ask permissions, nor fear I am doing something wrong.

Likewise if someone broadcasts an open wireless network into my house or office or a public space, I should be able to use it right.

It’s their responsibility to limit it’s signal or secure it if they don’t want people using it, for once..I agree with an expert!

I’m always on the lookout for open access points when I’m wondering around with my laptop, never know when I might need to draft a new article for Darknet, when I get that inspiration, I just have to note it down..or I’ll completely forget it.

The Ethics Expert also points out that if you find an open connection, you should try to figure out who owns it to let them know it’s open — in case they want to cut it off. Of course, he leaves out the strongest argument for why there’s nothing wrong with using free WiFi, assuming you’re either on public property or your own property: those radio waves are no longer under the control of the access point owner once they drift off of his or her property

I totally agree, and well so says the expert.

While I suppose that an argument could be made that you should never use what you donĂ¢’t pay for, I don’t think this would apply here and I’m not even sure that I agree with the broad sentiment. Unless it is made clear to users tapping into wireless connections that they must agree to certain conditions before proceeding, they have not breached any ethical mandate by logging on in any way that they legally can.

The right thing would be for those who set up wireless connections and want to keep them private to take the time to do so. If you’re a piggybacking user and can identify the individual to whom the connection belongs, it would be courteous but not essential to let that person know that you and presumably others are able to enjoy their wireless largesse.

Source: Dispatch.com



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14 Responses to “Jacking Wifi is ‘OK’ say Ethics Expert”

  1. JB 1 April 2006 at 12:16 am Permalink

    Not exactly the same situation, but when I was in college, our campus had one big open network. Any student with a computer could connect to it, provided you registered with the campus IT department. Once you were connected, you could pretty much do whatever you wanted – play multiplayer games, share files, etc. This was back when Napster was still operating in their (original) illegal form.

    My first semester there, I received a phone call. The caller asked read me off some personal information (name, dorm room address, phone number) and asked if I had a computer with the name JB_PC. I said yes, and he informed me that my computer was wide open, and he was able to get all that information by reading through some of my Word documents. He suggested I turn off File and Print Sharing (Win 98 I believe) until I figured out how to use it more securely.

    That gesture has certainly stuck with me over the years. A less scrupulous individual could have chosen to delete my files, plagiarize some of my papers, or who knows what else. Instead, this samaritan chose to inform me of what I was doing wrong. I would take the same tack with any uninformed access point owners. Anyone can go pick up a basic Linksys wireless access point and configure it without any security. All it takes is a little education to take a wide open access point and turn it into one that is secure enough that no one is going to bother with it just to jack your wifi.

  2. Haydies 3 April 2006 at 9:57 am Permalink

    It seems fair to me to use an open connection if its there, as long as you do nothing to damage the person that owns it. More or less like being at work.

    Of course there are people that would do illigal things over any open and anonymouse network. Seeking to rest any blame on the network owner.

    I am not sure I agree about the radio waves being free though, really thats not the point. Once you connection leaves the local wirelss, your using bandwidth, and that costs money. But if every one gave away just a little bit, maybe we could all have much better coverage for the times we need a little web access.

  3. Jeff 19 April 2006 at 3:14 pm Permalink

    I see the same thing with this idea as with most other “real world” applications. If you do not lock your car or your house, it is more your fault that someone steals it than the person who steals it. You carry a responsiblity with the ownership of a wireless router and using it for a wireless network that if you do not lock it or protect it, it is more your fault than the person who is using the network. By not putting a lock on your car, it soon becomes a bus, by not closing the door of your house, it becomes a public area… With such devices in the computer age, comes a need for responsibility and an education in using your computer on such a vulnerable and untethered world as the internet. People need to learn to protect their files and their systems by safer browsing and safer use of the hardware…

  4. Darknet 20 April 2006 at 8:02 am Permalink

    Yah I have to agree, you have a certain responsibility as with anything.

    It’s hard to decide though on a moral basis, I mean connecting to the wi-fi network is fine, it’s just like reading with a light source you don’t pay for..

    But it’s when you start surfing, then you are using someone elses Internet service that they are actually paying for.

    From my point of view though, that’s fine unless you actually hinder that persons surfing experience.

  5. Bud Jones 22 July 2006 at 3:31 pm Permalink

    And…..IF i may point out…..your windows pc comes with factory settings commanding the machine to connect to ANY available network….and if you dont go and change it you connect wether you like it or not. When i purchased my laptop in London UK, i had NO IDEA what wi-fi was and for the better part of a week i was connecting to networks upon networks and had no clue, until the persistant “wireless connection is now connected” icon in the taskbar brought it to my attention. i then made it my business to know what wireless networks were available to me and when. in my home in central london i could access any one of 23 seperate networks from different places in the house (windowsill for this one……stairwell for that one…..kitchen etc..) of which only 7 were encrypted….the other 16 being open and unsecured. as far as i was concerned, it was parallel to using a “scanner” to pick up police broadcasts or accidentally making phone calls on your neighbors phone account because he and yourself both have cordless phones that share the same frequency. As devices become more complex and emit more signals than ever before, you can be sure once they leak into my house, i am claiming them as my own and doing with them as i please.

    So, a word to the wise; if you love your puppy, be sure you dont send your puppy uninvited to your neighbors house to play unattended….otherwise what ever game your neighbor decides to play with Fido are his business, and youll have no recourse for any damages your puppy may have sustained playing lawn darts nextdoor while not in your care.
    oh, and by the way, the same is true for $100 dollar bills, lottery tickets, automobiles and women—IF YOU DONT LOVE IT ENOUGH TO GIVE IT THE PROTECTION IT NEEDS TO BE SAFE, SOMEONE WILL COME ALONG WHO IS WILLING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION AND YOUR “LOVES” WILL BE LOVED BY OTHERS, AND USUALLY IN A WAY THAT WILL NOT PLEASE YOU.

    want to keep your things exclusively yours? then dont unwittingly loan them to COMPLETE strangers;and if you do ,you deserve to lose everything you lose.

    For the record, i am back in the united states now and my wireless network is encrypted. having said that, i would like to mention that i have made 50 copies of my WEP key and distributed them to all my neighbors, just in case they ever need to use it. no one has even tried yet…………

  6. Speedys 21 October 2006 at 11:56 pm Permalink

    Hi, just found this blog and was wondering if anyone knew the legal implications of using someone elses connection?

  7. D-day 24 October 2006 at 12:08 am Permalink

    They need to make WIFI free, Like put signals on towers and stuff.

  8. Witchlight 4 June 2007 at 8:31 pm Permalink

    If you dont take even the most basic attempts to secure your wi-fi then you are implying consent. Its not like securing the connection is hard or the techniques obscure.

    There are ways for businesses to restrict there wifi from non customers and still share it for patrons. If a business is too cheap to implement them then they are asking for ppl to ride their wifi.

    BTW an open wifi may make a customer out of a non customer or at least have ppl say good things about your business, and word of mouth is the best advertisement you dont pay for.

    Second thought on why this is wrong.

    What we have here is some ma and pa coffee shop who heard about the internets and wanted to give “tubes” to their patrons. Instead of consulting a tech they picked up a crappy router and left it at that.

    If ignorance of the law is no defence then neither is ingnorace of offering a service or technology.

    Basically if your gonna do it, do it right!

  9. tom miller 8 June 2007 at 10:00 am Permalink

    I was using the shared network connection from the people oposite when my network wasn’t working and they didn’t mind.

    its should be the owners responsibility to activate the security on their own network otherwise they are open to hackers and other security threats, my rooter only has WEP security on it and no one on my road has tried to get into it but if i had no security then my whole road would be using my connection.

  10. Pavel 6 July 2007 at 7:34 pm Permalink

    I against viewing somebody’s private information. I think everybody should observe simple rules of security. Good review gives famous company Agnitum – WiFi Security Basics

  11. Aaron 21 December 2008 at 3:20 am Permalink

    Yes i do agree that people should take responsibility with there WiFi
    most people don’t know how to make it secure in the first place or they are to lazy to figure it out or the don’t have the time.

    I also agree once the WiFi signal leaves his/her house i should have the right to connect it. Hey if you do then at least tell them after you are done. But the thing is that’s getting me is if you do tell them will he/she can arrest you or press charges.

    I think the signal is your once it leaves the house but when you connect to it then its no longer your