The Null Device

Open wireless crackdown

In Britain, the police are arresting people for accessing open wireless access points without permission:
The man arrested at the weekend was cautioned for dishonestly obtaining electronic communications services with intent to avoid payment.
According to the authorities, accessing wireless networks without permission is, much like downloading MP3s and skipping ads on TV, theft:
"Gaining unauthorised access to someone else's network is an offence and people have to take responsibility for their actions. Some people might argue that taking a joy-ride in someone else's car is not an offence either," he said.
Not only that, but leaving your access point open for strangers to use is strongly discouraged; not only is it taking away business from commercial service providers (a cardinal sin in Thatcherism-Blairism), but it is giving paedoterrorists a convenient rock to hide under:
"There have been incidences where paedophiles deliberately leave their wireless networks open so that, if caught, they can say that is wasn't them that used the network for illegal purposes," said NetSurity's Mr Cracknell.
Such a defence would hold little water as the person installing the network, be they a home user or a business, has ultimate responsibility for any criminal activity that takes place on that network, whether it be launching a hack attack or downloading illegal pornography.
I wonder whether that would hold up in court; could someone be successfully prosecuted for a crime committed by a stranger using their unsecured network? Perhaps a new crime of "facilitating evasion of surveillance" would be appropriate?

The BBC article provides the following helpful advice to anyone with a wireless access point wishing to avoid ending up on the Sex Offenders' Register:

There are many different types of security options available - but the most basic is to give the network a Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP) key.
While not totally secure, WEP keys do at least provide a modicum of security to thwart all but the most technically-literate hackers.
Well, them and any script kiddie who can download a WEP cracking program and run it for a few minutes.

There are no comments yet on "Open wireless crackdown"

Want to say something? Do so here.

Post pseudonymously

Display name:
URL:(optional)
To prove that you are not a bot, please enter the text in the image into the field below it.

Your Comment:

Please keep comments on topic and to the point. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.

Note that markup is stripped from comments; URLs will be automatically converted into links.