Well this is a harsh turn of events, a while back an ‘ethics expert’ said Wifi Jacking is OK, now this poor guy has got pretty harshly screwed for using an open wireless connection from a nearby coffeeshop.
A Michigan man has been fined $400 and given 40 hours of community service for accessing an open wireless Internet connection outside a coffee shop.
Under a little known state law against computer hackers, Sam Peterson II, of Cedar Springs, Mich., faced a felony charge after cops found him on March 27 sitting in front of the Re-Union street Café in Sparta, Mich., surfing the Web from his brand-new laptop.
Last week, Peterson chose to pay the fine instead as part of a jail-diversion program.
$400 bucks and 40 hours of community service, that’s not exactly a light sentence. I think they are trying to send out a pretty strong message.
A lot of people don’t seem to see how this is illegal and I think it is a pretty spurious interpretation of the laws myself.
Someone from a nearby barbershop had called cops after seeing Peterson’s car pull up every day and sit in front of the coffee shop without anybody getting out.
“I just curiously asked him, ‘Where are you getting the Internet connection?’, you know,” Sparta Police Chief Andrew Milanowski said. “And he said, ‘From the café.'”
Milanowski ruled out Peterson as a possible stalker of the attractive local hairdresser, but still felt that a law might have been broken.
“We came back and we looked up the laws and we figured if we found one and thought, ‘Well, let’s run it by the prosecutor’s office and see what they want to do,'” Milanowski said.
A few weeks later Peterson said he received a letter from the Kent County prosecutor’s office saying that he faced a felony charge of fraudulent access to computer networks and that a request had been made for an arrest warrant.
After reading the article it just seems like a case of bad luck, the cops wanted to nail him for something, in fact ANYTHING, so they dug up this old law and bent it into shape.
“All over the TV, all the commercials and whatnot you see, they’re all trying to get you to buy all these laptops and things that are wireless,” he said. “They’re trying to get you to buy this wireless stuff because you can go anywhere and still be connected.
“Well, they don’t happen to tell you that it’s illegal,” he continued. “And I guess obviously you’re just supposed to know that.”
This raises some interesting ethical issues.
Source: Fox News