Accessing someones wireless network a crime?

Craz_3

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My neighbor has left their wireless router open to see and connect too. I was wondering if it's a crime to use his network to gain internet access. No password or anything is required I just connect and I'm on.
 

apHytHiaTe

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Wardriver....

Why dont you just ask him if he minds? Ya right! It sounds like theft to me. (Getting something that otherwise costs money, but without paying, yup thats it!) Some DSL companies like Speakeasy pay you to provide a WAP to your neighbors, right? Well anyhoots, I don't believe that this is the case where utylizing his bandwidth would be ethical or legal. Check your local ordinances.
 

apHytHiaTe

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It sounds as if you have already obtained access to his network. Get a job and get a cable modem you dirtay bandwidth knabber! LoL.
 

Sucka

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ToddRepp said:
Yup. It's a crime.

I would love to see that tried in court. If someone doesn't know how to protect their connection, they sure as $hit don't know how to monitor who's on it, and prove it to boot.
 

ToddRepp

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Sucka said:
I would love to see that tried in court. If someone doesn't know how to protect their connection, they sure as $hit don't know how to monitor who's on it, and prove it to boot.

Getting caught is another thing altogether. It's still a crime, and if your only reason for not comitting crimes is fear of getting caught your parents have done a very poor job.
 

niccoli

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Sucka said:
I would love to see that tried in court. If someone doesn't know how to protect their connection, they sure as $hit don't know how to monitor who's on it, and prove it to boot.

If someone were to leave there house unlocked and wide open for people to come into it is still against the law to enter there house without telling them, that's trespassing. I would think it would be the same with a wireless network.
 

unfortunateson

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I have done a little internet research on the legal issue of wireless networks. There is no cut and dry answer or laws reguarding this (that I have found). If a wireless connection is publicly broadcast with no security or password protection, I don't believe it should be a crime to connect to it. Wireless adapters autoconnect to public broadcasting networks that they detect. And reguarding wardriving, there is no clear cut explanation to its legality, either..
 

Sucka

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Wow, nancy boys here. So if a $50 dollar bill was sitting next to a Wal-Mart you would pick it up and walk it back inside? Breaking and entering is in a WHOLE OTHER league than using a wireless connection, that is just absurd. I think i was brought up just fine myself thank you. But yes, i would access a wireless AP if it were available to me, not to do any harm, or to hog bandwidth, but just to access web content. If i could trust people, i would leave my own open in hopes that one day the whole city would be covered by WAN. Leaving it open is an invitation to intruders, same as leaving your home open. So i guess maybe it is a crime. But in reality......pleeeeeeeeeeease, that is tottaly different than breaking and entering. Guess we don't have any wardrivers in here.
 

Sucka

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Now that i think of it even more, i can think of so many ways that is a ridiculous statment. Walking into a store could be considered illeagal if you weren't welcome, but who's to say if you're welcome or not? If it's open, one can only assume they are welcome right? Same with wi-fi, if it's open, one can only assume they are welcome. I could think of many similar situations to this, not even worth typing though.
 

M11

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ToddRepp said:
Yup. It's a crime.
Not according to the FCC rules. Note that broadcast TV is free (cannot be stolen) and is an unencrypted, public signal. Also, consider the handheld radios. Is using any of those signals(provided you're not trespassing to get them) illegal? Hell no. Those are on public frequency space, and you made no effort to circumvent protection. By leaving your network open, you grant public use. Look at convention centers, airports, universities, etc with open signal. Where are the signs saying "ITS OK, YOU WILL NOT BE SUED FOR USING THIS WIRELESS"? They are not needed.

Now say you try to break the encryption on satellite TV. Guess what? Thats private signal, with the owner showing intent for it to be nonpublic.
 

unfortunateson

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M11 said:
Not according to the FCC rules. Note that broadcast TV is free (cannot be stolen) and is an unencrypted, public signal. Also, consider the handheld radios. Is using any of those signals(provided you're not trespassing to get them) illegal? Hell no. Those are on public frequency space, and you made no effort to circumvent protection. By leaving your network open, you grant public use.

I agree with your statement. If the wireless connection is on a public signal with no encryption or password on it, it is allowing public use.
 

Craz_3

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Hey thanks for all the replies, Definetly gotta agree with the fact its unsecured and in open air waves.


ToddRepp said:
Getting caught is another thing altogether. It's still a crime, and if your only reason for not comitting crimes is fear of getting caught your parents have done a very poor job.

As for you todd, what did my parents do wrong again?
 

unfortunateson

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What about people who have their computers shared over a public wireless network? I would think that it is legal to browse, because they are being publically broadcast, but what about those noobies that didn't have the common sense to secure their network, and dont know that it is being transmitted? I think, unfortunately, it would be just tough luck for them. Any opinions?
 
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I guess its been said, entering a network thats publicly open is fine!

But i would question browsing computers on that network.since they are deemable as private property. but again, if its open...

I think wireless equipment should come with books telling people how to set them up, i have never dealt with wireless networks. but it seems pretty confuseing from what i gather on here, If they came with books telling people how to secure it for themself only, or leave it open for public internet, but not to browse computers, life would be soooo much simpler. Its down to "If its open, and you didnt bother to secure it, its your fault"

And besides, if you leave your house you close the door because you dont want people comeing in. if you have a wireless network, you should close its doors to public!

But then in the age of noobs and people who dont know much, and kids who just think "I'm good with computers, i can set it up fine!" its hard to expect secure networks. im 18, and when i was younger i was pretty good, but when you start learning it is a whole new ball game. and wireless networking is another.

But in short, if its open, use it
 

XOR != OR

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M11 said:
Not according to the FCC rules. Note that broadcast TV is free (cannot be stolen) and is an unencrypted, public signal. Also, consider the handheld radios. Is using any of those signals(provided you're not trespassing to get them) illegal? Hell no. Those are on public frequency space, and you made no effort to circumvent protection. By leaving your network open, you grant public use. Look at convention centers, airports, universities, etc with open signal. Where are the signs saying "ITS OK, YOU WILL NOT BE SUED FOR USING THIS WIRELESS"? They are not needed.

Now say you try to break the encryption on satellite TV. Guess what? Thats private signal, with the owner showing intent for it to be nonpublic.
It gets murky when the owner doesn't know how to show intent to make it private, as is the case with the wireless routers.

But, let's lay out a senario for you folks. Your neighbor has an open AP, so you use it freely. Someone else comes along and finds this AP, and use it illegally ( say, crack into a bank and steals records ).

Cops to owner: Did you intend to share this connection?
Owner: Nope.

Suddenly, you are tresspassing. On top of that, you are under suspicion for the crime that was commited.

Quite frankly, you folks sadden me. You all know morally it's not right. You know that most people that have these things don't intend to share their connection, they just don't know any better. And yet, because of greed, you try to justify it's use, to yourself and others. So I would have to agree with the statement that your parents didn't raise you all right, or you didn't listen to them try.

Wow, nancy boys here. So if a $50 dollar bill was sitting next to a Wal-Mart you would pick it up and walk it back inside?
Sad. Telling, and sad. yes, I would. Who's to say where that 50 came from? Especially from wally world, it could have been some poor single mother's food money for the week, just as easiely, it could be some bastards drug money, but you don't know.
 

Zardoz

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XOR != OR said:
It gets murky when the owner doesn't know how to show intent to make it private, as is the case with the wireless routers.

That is not the fault of the cliant.

But, let's lay out a senario for you folks. Your neighbor has an open AP, so you use it freely. Someone else comes along and finds this AP, and use it illegally ( say, crack into a bank and steals records ).

Cops to owner: Did you intend to share this connection?
Owner: Nope.

Cops: oh your a dumb ass...

Suddenly, you are tresspassing. On top of that, you are under suspicion for the crime that was commited.

I know of no trasspassing laws on using free access AP...

Quite frankly, you folks sadden me. You all know morally it's not right. You know that most people that have these things don't intend to share their connection, they just don't know any better. And yet, because of greed, you try to justify it's use, to yourself and others. So I would have to agree with the statement that your parents didn't raise you all right, or you didn't listen to them try.

Sad. Telling, and sad. yes, I would. Who's to say where that 50 came from? Especially from wally world, it could have been some poor single mother's food money for the week, just as easiely, it could be some bastards drug money, but you don't know.

I agree with some points here, but the thing to do is to go ASK! and also let them know of the problem. I for one have an open AP (with an SSID named "FREE USE" and let anyone use it.

for the most part I do not enter a network AP enless I know it's a public use one. Even though a OPEN AP is a invite for public use even though it was not ment to be...

As for the unlocked home thing. an OPEN AP is like putting a sign out in the front yard that shows OPEN HOUSE. even though you might not ment it to be one...

yardsign.jpg
 

XOR != OR

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Zardoz said:
That is not the fault of the cliant.
No, but it is the fault of the client if they actively connect to it.
Cops: oh your a dumb ass...
Yeah huh. I don't know what mythical place you live in, but in most parts, cops don't know shit about computer, and all you have to do is suggest that someone hacked something, and they will either blow it off or, more likely, over react.
I know of no trasspassing laws on using free access AP...
This is the part that confuses me. Why are computers so different from anything else that they need their own laws?
I agree with some points here, but the thing to do is to go ASK! and also let them know of the problem. I for one have an open AP (with an SSID named "FREE USE" and let anyone use it.
There you go. Go ask,
As for the unlocked home thing. an OPEN AP is like putting a sign out in the front yard that shows OPEN HOUSE. even though you might not ment it to be one...

yardsign.jpg
[/quote]Nope. That requires some intent on the part of the home user. Most of the time, people buy these things and hook them up. End of story.
 

BobSutan

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M11 said:
Not according to the FCC rules. Note that broadcast TV is free (cannot be stolen) and is an unencrypted, public signal. Also, consider the handheld radios. Is using any of those signals(provided you're not trespassing to get them) illegal? Hell no. Those are on public frequency space, and you made no effort to circumvent protection. By leaving your network open, you grant public use. Look at convention centers, airports, universities, etc with open signal. Where are the signs saying "ITS OK, YOU WILL NOT BE SUED FOR USING THIS WIRELESS"? They are not needed.

Now say you try to break the encryption on satellite TV. Guess what? Thats private signal, with the owner showing intent for it to be nonpublic.

^^^ Agreed. However, legally its a grey area. Because of this, some States have raised an eyebrow and have introduced legislation to make accessing an open AP fair game, which would make following the FCC's set precedents much easier. However, some places still define accessing a network without permission a no-no. This is why its in your best interest to find out which side of the fence the law sits on where you are. If its against accessing public APs, then you MUST ask the owner of the network if its okay. But if you are in an area where its been legally okayed to do so then I see no reason not to. The assumption is there are plenty of ways to restrict public access, and by not doing so the owner has shown their intent to keep it free for public access (remember, ignorance of the law doesn't excuse one from it).

My biggest beef with this is that there is no default stance one way or the other. The industry on a whole is shooting for open APs being fair game, just like broadcast TV signals. Its just the natural way of broadcast media, and the industry and media owners know this. Getting the politicians and public onboard has been haphashard because of all the brainwashing and misinformation spewed by content owners and lobbiests such as those from encrypted broadcasters such as Sattelite providers. Now people don't know if accessing a signal is okay or not, regardless of it being in the public spectrum. 802.11 is in the public spectrum and personally I don't see why it shouldn't be treated as such (a la public broadcast TV). If an individual didn't want someone accessing their network, just as an encrypted signal provider like sattelite TV would, then that person should have the burden of closing the signal to the public. But as I said, neither a defacto, nor dejure standard has been settled upon.
 

psychofurryewok

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niccoli said:
If someone were to leave there house unlocked and wide open for people to come into it is still against the law to enter there house without telling them, that's trespassing. I would think it would be the same with a wireless network.

That's actually not true. If the door is unlocked and you walk in they can't charge you with anything, they can only ask you to leave. I do a lot of urban exploration and that's the law. If the cops show up, they'll just say: You, leave, now. Obey and you've got nothing to worry about.

Now for my ten cents on the wifi network thing, if he leaves it open and you aren't trashing anything of his, I'd use it...but sparingly. After all, it is his network connection, but he IS sharing it. It's immoral not to take advantage of a moron. :) :)
 

O[H]-Zone

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psychofurryewok said:
If the door is unlocked and you walk in they can't charge you with anything, they can only ask you to leave.

If the door is unlocked and you walk into MY house, and I don't know you, you're leaving in 12 gauge chunks.
 

BobSutan

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O[H]-Zone said:
If the door is unlocked and you walk into MY house, and I don't know you, you're leaving in 12 gauge chunks.

Have fun with Bubba and friends.

Seriously though [as I said before] because we're dealing with communications and signal transmissions, comtemporary property laws are moot and do not apply. That's usually the first mistake people make when trying to delineate where their "property rights" start with their signals. In truth, traditionally they don't have any more rights to the signal than any other citizen. In 802.11 terms, this right also applys to the same frequency or channel you might happen to be using. That's why the FCC, or State, or Federal legislatures need to come up with some sort of firm guidance on this. The signals are open, the signals are within reach of my PC, so where is it said that I may or may not use said signals. The reality of it is there is no such law. However, there are laws that disallow me from using the network with which these signals are connected to. But if the signals are open, is it implied that I've been given access to these usually closed networks? Again, this is where the current legal system fails us. Fortunately in some States we've been given clear direction that it is okay, but in others we're still left to wonder.
 

Zardoz

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XOR != OR said:

No, but it is the fault of the client if they actively connect to it.

Not really, I have by mistake connected to a AP of someones that was not my friends... it happens, and if it's OPEN it's going to happen...

Yeah huh. I don't know what mythical place you live in, but in most parts, cops don't know shit about computer, and all you have to do is suggest that someone hacked something, and they will either blow it off or, more likely, over react.

You must live is some back woods part of the country. I know and have plenty of cop friends that know about computers and networking. not everyone is dumb as you think. (just some.)


This is the part that confuses me. Why are computers so different from anything else that they need their own laws?

it's a different medium, just like boats on the sea have different laws.

Nope. That requires some intent on the part of the home user. Most of the time, people buy these things and hook them up. End of story.

True, and most of them are to stupid about it to know better. but my point is that it's like doing the same thing.
 

M11

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BobSutan said:
^^^ Agreed. However, legally its a grey area. Because of this, some States.....<snip>
Tennessee has. Several cases in fed. court have been thrown out over the Theft of service complaint.

I think its safe to say we won't see any real push in legislation until these pay-for-access companies begin to lobby the government into defining what "legal access" is (to suit their own company, of course)
 

BobSutan

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I fear that they might lobby that way as well. But then what happens to all of the companies and cities that have implemented free wireless? Will they just roll over and shut it off? What about in areas where its paid for by subsidation and was legislated to be free and open? That's why I'm thinking (and hoping) it will be relegated to the State level and not become a federal jurisdiction, or worse, be rolled up into some kakameme act like the NET or DMCA.
 

M11

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Remember, free wireless encourages spamming, virus seeding, and piracy. Therefore we should ban it. :rolleyes:

*This message brought to you by your local hotspot provider*
 

BobSutan

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M11 said:
Remember, free wireless encourages spamming, virus seeding, and piracy. Therefore we should ban it. :rolleyes:[/COLOR]

Hehe, too true. I wish we could be there when they make those kind of argurments and turn it around on them--if they're gonna ban this then they need to ban guns, baseball bats, kitchen knives, etc. You know how it goes. Serioiusly, they all serve a legitamate purpose, despite all the bad things that can be done with them. But nooooo. When it comes to computers/technology they'd rather punish the means instead of the abusers of the means. That's when it all goes pear-shaped.
 
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I thik its hard to make any kind of liegislation on the matter, and its not helped because half of those who make them probably know jack! to them AP is 2 letters and 802.11 is just numbers! so what can they do?

I think it would be very cool if people just left their AP's open, let the world in, but then they dont want people gonig thro all their computers, spreading disease like filthey stinkin un-educated know-it-all good for nothing ungreatful 13 year olds!
 

M11

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With those in power clueless, the legislation reflects those who lobby. As of right now that represents the huge corporate interests. It would be great if hardforum organized a group to promote responsible technology legislation. Personally, I would be willint to organize/help organize it. Anyone else with me?
 

BobSutan

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M11 said:
With those in power clueless, the legislation reflects those who lobby. As of right now that represents the huge corporate interests. It would be great if hardforum organized a group to promote responsible technology legislation. Personally, I would be willint to organize/help organize it. Anyone else with me?

These folks have already beat you to it.
 

M11

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BobSutan said:
These folks have already beat you to it.
I know. I donate to them:p

But seriously, I think hardforum could make effective use of a subforum with a topic of digital rights education/questions/discussion/lobby.
 

JKA Represent

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i didnt read all the blabber here, but just acess it. You will not get in trouble. Dont worry about it. I do it. :)
 

M11

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JKA Represent said:
i didnt read all the blabber here, but just acess it. You will not get in trouble. Dont worry about it. I do it. :)
But just because you do it doesn't make it right. What we were discussing was the law of such, not whether you can do it, because it is easy to do so and no one gets caught.
 

musicmaser

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yeah its a crime but they probally dont know how to protect it if they didnt so if your worried bout getting in trouble then just log into there router- 192.168.0.1 and ues the defult username and password, then clear history or reset it......defult username and password are usually admin and password or something like that. of course its still not legal....
 

M11

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Read the thread, and hopefully pending cases and other legal studies. Legality/illegality has not been established, since it is an emerging technology governed by archaic comms laws.
 

Wang191

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How about this. If you try and get into a router on the web there is always a message that says that it is private property and any attempt to connect and what not is not allowed. That's there for a reason. Because according to law If you do not say that your server, router, whatever, is closed to the public, it can be accessed leagally because anything on the net is public property because anyone can access it. At least that's what one of my networking books said.
 

oldpablo

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Legal does not equal right. If you are in the position of "I can do whatever I want because so far there is no law" OR "Theres no way I can be caught so that makes it okay", you are a bastard and you and the rest of your gang are what is sending this world down the tubes. NOW, dont mistake that for "If I hop onto someones wireless connection and borrow it for a bit" without letting them know, then you are a bastard. As said earlier, wireless cards are designed to jump onto any available connection in most cases automatically. Thats fine and dandy, because its not like you are intentionally seeking out open networks for malicious reasons. I'm saying if you think you have the RIGHT to do it and that there is nothing wrong with it whatsoever, then I repeat you are a bastard. You are intentionally borrowing/utilitizing/abusing someone elses property/service that they are paying for and you are not. There is no way that is right. There is no magical grey area that clouds that simple black and white concept. Its theirs, not yours. The responsible thing to do is ask to use it or at least educate them in locking it down. I would take the $50 back in to Wal-Mart because I have lost nothing by doing that and potentially helped out someone that could be screwed. Same concept as I would go out of my way to help people that I deem should know something to improve their lifes/safety/protection. It's simple really, there are givers and takers. What are you?

P.S. - If their dog craps on your lawn, its war. Suck the soul out of that AP.
 

BobSutan

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Wang191 said:
How about this. If you try and get into a router on the web there is always a message that says that it is private property and any attempt to connect and what not is not allowed. That's there for a reason. Because according to law If you do not say that your server, router, whatever, is closed to the public, it can be accessed leagally because anything on the net is public property because anyone can access it. At least that's what one of my networking books said.

Thats an intersting point. However, by not placing anything you've left it up to interpretation. Conversly, you should NEVER say anything in the notice resembling the words or pharases that could be interpreted as an invitation (Welcome to xxx networks, or something like that). If you don't want them in it would say something like "Do not enter this network. Its mine, not yours. Go away now!"

And since APs don't prompt you with a login notice like an FTP server or domain login script, I don't know if this would really be relevant to begin with.
 
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