Open Wifi

Author: Rodney Adkins

From the forum post:

"Last few weeks I have read of cases where people are being charged with using someone's open wifi connection. Apparently in some parts of the world that is against some computer data act for some reason. Personally, my belief is if you are out and about and find a hot spot I cannot see what harm you are really doing, now I am not advocating the use of open wifi's. It just seems to make sense to me that if someone runs a wireless network without taking the time to lock it down, then they are the ones that are allowing everyone to use their wifi. To put it in context if it is against the law to get onto an open wifi then it should be against the law to run an open wifi."

The vast majority on the forum were against anyone using an open wifi to log onto the internet. They advocated that it was stealing, plain and simple. Most said I would be stealing bandwidth. Only a very few dared to come to my aid and side on this issue and they were a brave lot indeed (even though vastly outnumbered). I never knew we had so many honest and upstanding citizens on the forums. It is nice to see that so many would take their laptop and go to out of their way to find a "legal" hotspot.

I left the forum that day feeling like a crook as I would not think twice of logging on to an open wifi if I ever had the need. I have thought about this issue since I put the topic on the forum and have now changed my mind drastically. No, no, no! I have not seen the light, I mean about not advocating the use of open wifi's. If someone has an open wifi, is it really stealing bandwidth if that person has left it open. How can you tell that the owner did not have full intentions of sharing his wifi connection?

Personally from a Linux forum, where the concept of sharing is a given, share code, improve code, pass on code, that is all sharing, I found the majority stand on this issue puzzling. What a nice world this would be if we shared our signal for internet access. I know the arguments about the downloading of illegal material, your internet access being used for illegal activities and the list could go on for ever more. I have news for you who believe this, your internet access even if you are wired directly can be compromised. There has to be a chance of it otherwise why are people so paranoid of running as root? It is not just that you can wreck your own system, is it?

In Canada, the Federal Court of Appeals, dismissed a case brought by the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA because they could not prove that the person whose IP was used to download music was actually the person who downloaded the music. In this case at least, having a open wifi was a blessing. Also having a judge who understood helped too. I believe it is high time the router manufactures of the world made it really easy for the average user to set up a router so one area of the router would get full access and the part that is open would be limited to so much bandwidth.

The idea of using someone's signal because they may not know how to set up a router is ludicrous. If I start up my laptop and my neighbour has an open wifi, there is nothing stopping the laptop from grabbing that signal. Now I still don't see what is wrong with using that signal because that signal has invaded my personal space. The laptop was manufactured to grab the best signal, it is doing what it was programmed to do. I, as an average user, am doing what I usually do. Turn on my laptop and by golly I am on the net. Do that in some countries and you are going to be charged under the Data Protection Act of that country. This is an absurd situation, a average computer user, buys a product that is legally sold, uses it the way the government allows it to be manufactured, then the government police forces can charge you for breaking the law because you used your laptop in the way it was programmed.

What makes this situation worse is that I could be sitting in my own home using my own computer, not realizing that I was using someone else's signal and get charged for it. As far as I am concerned the law is being used in a way it was never intended, and to stop these bogus charges against ordinary law abiding citizens, I say, open up all wifi and share.

For those of you that think that using someone else's bandwidth is stealing, I suggest that you not read the articles on using Scroogle. Oh, you use Scroogle already, the little search app that lets you scrape out all of Google's advertising and cookies and use their search engine. Don't you consider that stealing from Google? After all you are using their search engine without the company having a chance to generate a revenue stream.