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View Full Version : Legality of tapping into an unsecured internet connection



lacarnut
10-30-2009, 10:42 AM
I bought a small Asus laptop to take with me when I go to the beach. I turned it on and found an unsecured Internet connection. Clicked on it and had Internet service. Is this legal and can anyone find out that I am using their service. I guess what I am asking, am I playing with fire. The only time I would use the laptop at home would be a breakdown of my Dell desktop.

FlaGator
10-30-2009, 02:19 PM
I bought a small Asus laptop to take with me when I go to the beach. I turned it on and found an unsecured Internet connection. Clicked on it and had Internet service. Is this legal and can anyone find out that I am using their service. I guess what I am asking, am I playing with fire. The only time I would use the laptop at home would be a breakdown of my Dell desktop.

There are no laws against it. Now if you hacked into to the networkd, that would be different. If the owner doesn't bother to secure his router then that his/her fault. Also a lot of business in malls and eateries keep unsecure networks to attract business.

djones520
10-30-2009, 02:41 PM
There may be an issue if you use it for illegal activity. We used to keep our network unsecure until our cable company sent us a nasty letter about how we where illegally downloading movies with it.

We decided to make sure it was secure after that.

lacarnut
10-30-2009, 03:19 PM
There are no laws against it. Now if you hacked into to the networkd, that would be different. If the owner doesn't bother to secure his router then that his/her fault. Also a lot of business in malls and eateries keep unsecure networks to attract business.

Thanks. I don't want my neighbor to come knocking on my door. I try to stay out of trouble as much as I can but it is hard.:). The condo I stay at has Internet connection in all of their units.

AHeneen
11-06-2009, 02:34 PM
I've heard stories about this being illegal, specifically soemthing about a man arrested in London sitting on a sidewalk and using the wireless network of a nearby house or business. When I tried searching for that incident, I came across this:

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1008436/wireless-internet-freeloading




Wireless Internet freeloading might become a crime

By Desire Athow

Friday, 21 March 2008, 14:57

IF A LAW proposed last week in Maryland gets passed, intentionally using a neighbour's wireless Internet connection without permission will be a crime.

State delegate LeRoy E. Myers, Jr. said his bill aims to distinguish between intentional theft and accidental use. He told the story that a neighbour of his unintentionally used his wireless network and said that he would not want to see such inadvertent wireless trespassing prosecuted like computer hacking, which is typically a felony punishable with stiff fines and lengthy prison time.

He cited the story of some man in Michigan who was prosecuted for parking outside a coffee shop and freeriding on its wireless network to check his email.

The man was charged with a felony and faced a fine of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison.

As an alternative, the man chose a diversion program, a $400 fine, spending 40 hours in community service and six months probation.

Myers' draft bill defines intentional, unauthorised access to another person's computer, network, database or software as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to three years in jail.

The Maryland public defenders office filed opposition to Myers' bill. It observed that wireless Internet access is becoming common in neighbourhoods and that proving that unauthorised wireless access was intentional would be difficult.

Instead, the public defenders office proposed that Internet account owners might more effectively secure their wireless networks with help from Internet service providers or vendors. It didn't suggest that a law is needed for that.

NacehocA73
11-11-2009, 01:15 PM
I dont know how to secure it but I think people will now be able to use your internet connection since it isnt secure.

Gingersnap
11-12-2009, 10:56 AM
Thanks. I don't want my neighbor to come knocking on my door. I try to stay out of trouble as much as I can but it is hard.:). The condo I stay at has Internet connection in all of their units.

If your neighbor can't be bothered to secure his connection, he's pretty unlikely to be able to use the tools needed to detect you personally. I would probably tell the neighbor about the problem and offer to secure it for him - it would only take a few minutes.

But you aren't breaking any laws if you don't. You'd get into trouble if you created fake web sites to get his credit card or personal information or if you installed a keylogger on his system or something like that. Right now the law views unsecured Internet access kind of like a porch light: if you can't be troubled to turn it off, it's okay for your neighbor to read his paper by it as long as he's not on your property. ;)