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Wi-Fi user fined for battening off hotspot
one year in jail is the maximum penalty
walkman




msg:304804
 4:20 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

he was fined, but let's face it, his life will never be the same. With an arrest and conviction record his options are very limited in this country.

-----
[theinquirer.net...]
&
[rrstar.com...]
“We just want to get the word out that it is a crime. We are prosecuting it, and people need to take precautions,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Wartowski said.

Kauchak was arrested in January in Loves Park when local authorities learned he was accessing the Internet through a nonprofit agency’s computer. "

 

moishe




msg:304805
 5:29 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Mighty slippery slope here...

Will the cops be raiding Walmart and charging them with selling bulgary tools for selling hot spot finders?

If I leave my network open, then rat on anyone who connects to it is that entrapment or a legal way to get rid of neighbors I don't like?

Look for this to make its way into politics, a bar owner near a capitol could settup a wireless network then call the police to have lawmakers of the party he dislikes arrested when they bring in their laptops and connect to the WiFi....

twinsrul




msg:304806
 7:03 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

From the article:
He pleaded guilty Tuesday to the charge and was fined $250 and sentenced to one year of court supervision.

Whoa, lets not get ahead of ourselves. The subtitle in this thread, "one year in jail is the penalty," is wrong. Supervision and jail time are two different things.

he was fined, but let's face it, his life will never be the same. With an arrest and conviction record his options are very limited in this country.

That's obviously factually wrong.

walkman




msg:304807
 7:22 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

twinsrul,
the maximum jail time is ONE year in jail, the fact that he didn't get it doesn't mean you or I will be as lucky.

As far as getting a good job or a professional license with an arrest /conviction record, Google is your friend.

wsmeyer




msg:304808
 7:30 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

None of the referenced articles mention if he hacked into the WiFi or if it was left in the unsecured mode.

How can you form an opinion without that key piece of information?

William.

blaze




msg:304809
 7:42 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Holy smokes!

I have accidentally tapped into other people's wifi before accidentally!

That's just crazy.

DrDoc




msg:304810
 7:55 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

If he hacked into the WiFi ... Yes, I think that is a crime and should be prosecuted as such. Don't feel bad for the guy at all.

Now, if the WiFi was left wide open ... That's not a crime. First of all, all WiFi equipment has an option for automatically connecting to the strongest available WiFi within range. How is anyone supposed to be able to tell the difference between a wireless connection which is truly open to the public, and one which is only "accidentally" left open (although I would put the blame on the owner of the connection for being stupid enough to leave it wide open).

There's a mile wide difference between hacking into a WiFi connection and simply using it.

moishe




msg:304811
 8:21 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

The article from the local paper clearly starts out by equating using a WiFi connection with cable theft. That having been said, it would be real nice to know what really happened here. If he hacked the WiFi, then he is a criminal. If he accessed the non-profit's PC as the article seems to say, then he is a criminal.

If he accessed an open WiFi network to gain access to the internet and then pled guilty, he is a moron. I would have fought that one to the Supreme Court. IF this is the case, it sets a VERY BAD pressitant.

ncreegan




msg:304812
 8:43 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've often wondered with war driving etc., how they identify the user?

Essex_boy




msg:304813
 8:55 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

A neighbour of mine has left his/hers open my tablet often connects to it.

So im a criminal, come on get a life.

Yet again petty and trivial incidents are punished disproportionatly, honestly then people wonder why no one has any respect for the law.

Seems to me its about breaking new ground fopr career advancement some rozzer.

poster_boy




msg:304814
 9:07 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

he was fined, but let's face it, his life will never be the same. With an arrest and conviction record his options are very limited in this country.

According to the law, you can get 12 months in jail for lots of things. But, in practice, it rarely happens.

He'll be fine. Employers may even find him to be... resourceful.

fashezee




msg:304815
 9:58 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

He should have just blamed it on Windows; court would have understood.

NickCoons




msg:304816
 11:00 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've seen lots of user comments about this on other boards where this article is posted and talkback is allowed. Most people against it equate it to cable theft (as someone else in this thread mentioned), but there seems to be a big difference.

The problem here is that a lot of networks, especially in the vicinity of restaurants, provide this service for free and wide open. Other networks are left open out of ignorance. How is someone who finds an open network to know the difference? How can you know the network operator's intent. Simply, you can't.

I think the answer to this is simple. If there is any kind of security or other barriers that prevent you from accessing the network without some sort of key or authentication (WEP, WPA, MAC ACL, etc), then it's obvious that the owner's intent was to prevent others access to it, and doing so without authorization could be termed a crime. It's not unreasonable to assume that a network left wide open was done so intentionally.

People also equate this to a residence. "But if I leave my front door wide open, that doesn't mean it's okay for someone to just walk in." No, of course not. And there rarely, if ever, is a circumstance when it would be okay for a stranger to walk into your house without authorization. There's no ambiguity there, so that's pretty cut and dry.

This, however, is more like whether or not an individual is allowed to walk into someone's place of business. There are times when it is okay (like during normal business hours) and there are times when it is not (when the business is closed). Businesses clearly mark this with Open/Closed signs, by locking and unlocking doors, or by other methods that give anyone the business' clear intent.

The 802.11a,b,g,whatever standards don't have any type of "Open, Come On In!" sign that can be posted and recognized universally. The only way an owner can communicate their intent is by locking the network down, or not. If it's locked down, then that conveys the intent for outsiders to not access it.

Regarding the naive people that buy a router, plug it in, and go, resulting in an open network; I don't feel sorry for them at all. Why do so many people believe they are computer techs? Most people would hire an electrician to do electrical work, a plumber to plumb, and a doctor to take care of their health. Why hasn't this carried over to computers for many home users? I can appreciate the do-it-yourselfers out there. But the router comes with *instructions* that clearly describe the consequences of not locking down your network.

Given that:
- Locking down a network is a clear communication that outside access is not allowed,
- Many businesses (and some individuals) purposefully create open networks for outsiders to use, and this practice is growing,
- The protocol doesn't have any designed method of communicating the network operator's intent, and
- All (if not most) consumer wifi access points include instructions that tell you to secure your network,

...it can only be assumed that an open network is intended for public use.

Now putting that all aside, my understanding of this article was that the police officer approached this person sitting in his car in the middle of the night with his laptop. How was he to know that the internet connection was coming from an open wifi signal? Does that mean that if I'm sitting in my car using my laptop and I'm connected to the internet with my EVDO card, I have to worry about being harrassed? Is your ordinary cop going to be able to tell the difference between someone sniffing on someone else's wifi and an innocent individual using a legitimate paid service?

PhraSEOlogy




msg:304817
 11:08 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Again personal responsibility goes out the window and the big feet of the law step in.

Alex_Miles




msg:304818
 11:55 pm on Mar 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Is your ordinary cop going to be able to tell the difference between someone sniffing on someone else's wifi and an innocent individual using a legitimate paid service?

In my experience, no. They can't even tell the difference between a cannabis plant and a parlour palm. I've seen them seize a keyboard 'in case there is any data on it'. The police are supposed to intimidate and harrass on behalf of the state, not 'think' or 'know anything'. Would you want smarter police?

Not me. Not really.

The real problem here was the lunatic who pleaded 'guilty to get it over with'. Such cowardly behaviour will earn a ten year stretch in Guantanamo, when I rule the world.

security56




msg:304819
 12:14 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Umm so is there anyway to find out if broke into the locked wifi network or was it an open network.

It's a scary thought when the govermnet starts taking this steps, If it was an open wifi network, if it was a lock wifi network and he broke in the guy deserve it.

PS: lol I like the comment blame it on windows :) which it's true.

walkman




msg:304820
 12:52 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> The real problem here was the lunatic who pleaded 'guilty to get it over with'. Such cowardly behaviour will earn a ten year stretch in Guantanamo, when I rule the world.

he was probably told to pay $250 and probation if he pleaded, or face a year in jail if he contested the charge.

Liane




msg:304821
 1:01 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Jeeze, where I am, WIFI is everywhere! Restaurants all over the country have it and its easily accessed. There is also a WIFI provider who sells access. How the heck would somebody on a boat know if they had accidentally gotten into a closed system?

We have power outages all the time which would likely render the "closed system" open for one and all unless the company owner resets the passwords and does whatever you have to do to prevent the system from being used by anyone with a computer and bluetooth technology!

mcavic




msg:304822
 3:15 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

We have power outages all the time which would likely render the "closed system" open for one and all

No, networking devices don't lose their configuration when they lose power.

joeduck




msg:304823
 3:43 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Drop That Adapter Card and put your HANDS ON YOUR HEAD!"

I was just in a Salt Lake Hotel (the Econolodge!) with a superb high-end wireless setup, and the manager said the police often will drop into the parking lot to use his excellent broadband. He was happy about it but I guess those officers now will have to ... arrest themselves.

webdoctor




msg:304824
 5:25 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

how they identify the user?

The guy with the GPS, laptop, and PRINGLES CAN :-)

rohitj




msg:304825
 5:58 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

some routers do lose their configs during a power outage especially the common linksys routers that is used in practically all home networks. If you look at the instructions, keeping power off for more than 60 seconds results in complete memory loss. This is for several of the models that are designed for home and small business use. Obviously the more robust routers designed for enterprise and/or production usage would not have any memory loss because of an outage--at least not to my knowledge and barring any unforseen circumstances (i.e. surges etc.,)

In any case, a person should be able to manage their network especially if they're in a zone where there are many people walking, working, or living.

rohitj




msg:304826
 5:59 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

and i am also wondering if any non-profits will take on the case on this person's behalf. If not, we could see money-hungry municipalities using this case as reasoning to push for more fines/monitoring.

Alex_Miles




msg:304827
 7:46 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

>he was probably told to pay $250 and probation if he pleaded, or face a year in jail if he contested the charge.

These things do happen. And in the modern world with its constant surveillance its going to happen more and more. Would you be happy to explain your every action to a thug in a uniform whose IQ is unlikely to be as big as his shoe size?

The victim could have stood up in court and explained wifi. The fact he hasn't done it only makes it much more likely I'll have to :(

I found some kiddie porn once where my website should have been. The police reaction: "who had access to your computer recently?"

They could have thrown away the key (luckily I noticed it before my customers did). But I explained all about "servers" in words of one syllable and no-one in my household got arrested. It can be done.

I like 'blame Windows' too :)

Essex_boy




msg:304828
 8:04 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

a thug in a uniform whose IQ is unlikely to be as big as his shoe size? - Spot on.

Losers who cant even get a Mc Job

percentages




msg:304829
 8:36 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you steal someone else's access to Wifi, Internet Cable, regular cable TV, Satellite, telephone, electricity, water, or any other basic utility you are a criminal.

The logic is simple, someone is paying, and it isn't you!

You knew that someone was paying, and by stealing the resource for free you are defrauding at least one person, possibly hundreds.

If I leave my Porsche Convertible open topped on your street does this give you a right to take it? I think not! Leaving my WiFi less than 100% protected applies in the same manner, it was never yours to use!

Of course we should all take precautions against these people, but our lack of security doesn't give them a mandate to steal!

vincevincevince




msg:304830
 10:35 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

If the user a) cracked the security key, or b) attempted to access other computers on the network - then I absolutely agree that he was in the wrong. Otherwise he was undoubtedly in the right.

What's next? A court case because I admired someone's garden as I walked past without them giving me express permission to look in their direction? Because I took shelter under your porch whilst waiting for the bus in the rain?

But just accessing the internet via a wifi connection seems more than reasonable. Since when did people become so selfish, especially during Lent?

This is a big setback to wifi. I always leave my wifi connection wide open deliberately so that anyone in range can connect. I am responsible enough to have up-to-date firewalls, anti-virus, and restrictive port blocking on the machine and router level.

Liane




msg:304831
 11:42 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Of course we should all take precautions against these people, but our lack of security doesn't give them a mandate to steal!

Um, well ... in the islands, where boaters are readily supplied with free WIFI in many areas, they would never realize they are stealing if a system is available. It isn't as cut and dried (in all situations) as some may think.

old_expat




msg:304832
 2:12 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

"The logic is simple, someone is paying, and it isn't you!"

First, very few things in life are simple. Second, even if someone is paying and it isn't you .. a crime has not necessarily been committed. Incidental use of the service may not necessarily make anyone pay more, either.

"You knew that someone was paying .."

Maybe, maybe not.

" .. by stealing the resource for free you are defrauding at least one person, possibly hundreds."

Not unless there is financial loss .. and isn't fraud based on intent?

luckychucky




msg:304833
 2:33 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wow. I pay for high speed DSL, with an ethernet cable running into my desktop tower. My wifi base works like a charm but a while back I needed to power it down. The thing is, about 5 other prople in my building have open networks. So I never bothered to turn my own on again. I always have great access using everyone else's, for several months now. Sheer laziness makes me a criminal.

One other note: where I live, the city has made several areas (a park, the central promenade) free open wireless zones.

Could a bunch of creative commies got together and set up a bunch of fee co-op wifi zones, like Amsterdam's white bicycles or whatever? (Or wasn't that done - I seem to recall somebody sued to stop it)

This 57 message thread spans 2 pages: 57 ( [1] 2 > >
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