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ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: dlee ()
Date: April 14, 2005 01:21PM

Ok all you comp ppl, and you know who you are (rstidman). Let's say a neighbor has an unsecured wireless network running. 1) is it really so wrong for me to bum off it for a bit. 2) how easy is it for them, or what level of computer expertise would they need, to notice whether someone is on their network uninvited?

Or maybe I should just get off my cheap ass and get Cavalier DSL. Anyone had a good/bad experience with them? I'm not doing Cox as we don't even have/want cable TV.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: rstidman ()
Date: April 14, 2005 01:25PM

Virginia law, as well as FCC regs, say it's ok to latch onto another person's wifi due to the large number of networks that a re intentionally set up for this purpose (see: numerous cities)

now, what you do after that may be unethical and/or illegal, but simply logging on and surfing is legit, bro.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: rstidman ()
Date: April 14, 2005 01:26PM

Oh, and if someone is dumb enough to leave it unsecured, they will not know how to packet sniff or even look at their used dhcp connections on the router setup...they will have no fucking clue.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: rstidman ()
Date: April 14, 2005 01:27PM

I'm being picked on BTW and I demand the right of vengeance, or just some weed.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: dlee ()
Date: April 14, 2005 01:49PM

rstidman
"As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit out of the little brown flask in my
shaving kit." - Fear & Loathing

If I was an attorney like Dr. Gonzo on F&L, then we'd all be set. Unfortunately, that's not the case. But if you give me the hook up then I'll freely represent you when/if you're busted.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: rstidman ()
Date: April 14, 2005 02:45PM

I believe his "attorney" is the same man who started randomly hitting a car with a hammer.

I love F&L....and I don't have the hookup. Mine was a banger who decided to try to use his status as some kind of way to reign superior over me... not gonna happen. I don't need the green that bad so I've been without for a while now. No way am I going to let a two-timer without a HS degree tell me what time it is.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: Cary ()
Date: April 14, 2005 04:52PM

RIP Hunter S Thompson

dlee - just keep leeching.
even if they find out you're using their network they'll just password protect it or something. just make sure your computer's name isn't your real name or something because it will show up in their routers dhcp log.

rstidman - you're in centreville man! come on. just walk down to mountain view and pretend you're a student, you'll find it.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: Cm ()
Date: April 14, 2005 05:42PM

I've been in many discussions with coworkers about this. My thought is, if they want it secured, they would secure it. There is enough googlable help out there for anybody (technically capable or not) to follow instructions.

That being said however, Virginia Code 18.2-152.6 "theft of computer services" seems to forbid this. I'm curious if there is case law that further defines the use of unprotected wireless networks -- either from a home, or from the Starbucks down the street.


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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: rstidman ()
Date: April 15, 2005 12:08AM

federal law trumps state law in this matter. The FCC says open radio networks are open... is it theft of computer services or use of a radio network???

I dunno, I'm just trying to leech my torrents without getting busted... my (secure) wifi is actually superior to the one I am leeching...

BTW I set up these nets for a living so I hope we come up with a definite answer. The law you cited, as you know, says nothing either way. whether it is one or the other is vital to a conclusive answer.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: rstidman ()
Date: April 15, 2005 12:09AM

BTW not sure how well a 26-year-old who votes every election and subelection at that school would "fit in"

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: Cm ()
Date: April 15, 2005 10:14AM

Ok, so let's agree for a moment that the FCC rules over the airwaves, and that unsecured wireless networks are free and clear. Does this same ruling govern the data as it travels over the wired networks?

rstidman, do you know where to find that FCC statement? I'm not trying to put you on the spot -- I am really curious about the subject, and would like to find as much information as possible to support either side of the debate.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: dlee ()
Date: April 15, 2005 01:02PM

Next spare moment I get, I'll hit westlaw and see whether there've been any articles written on this topic and what they say. My initial reaction would be that there would be a distinction made between a public wifi portal like starbucks or best buy (by the way did you know there's wifi access on the steps of the supreme court?) and private home/biz networks.

And federal law only trumps where it's state law countervenes. Let's say state law is 'stricter' than federal law. The feds usually don't care. (But where state law is looser - say you're in CA trying to grow your own crop for private consumption - then they care). It depends on the situation. That is a really lame legal answer, but i'll try to be more specific in my next post.




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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: rstidman ()
Date: April 15, 2005 05:44PM

I read it in a Washington Post article so feel free to question my knowledge. I'm sorta beginning to realize that with an evolving technology like this the rules can go all over the place.

You can say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one... free wifi is for everyone. I wish I was a lawyer except for the "being hated" part.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: asnpcwiz ()
Date: April 18, 2005 04:07PM

I guess what everyone is saying DLEE is just do it man, who the f cares. Just make sure you are protected when you are on their network in case they decide they want to f with you. Virus protection, firewall, anything you can do to protect yourself is good. I highly doubt they'd be smart enough to do anything if they aren't smart enough to secure their wifi access.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: Gravis ()
Date: April 22, 2005 10:50AM

As far as legal matters go with wifi, even if you are caught, there is nothing they can do about it. This is assuming that you are using a neighbors network and not some state facility. Basically, it's too damn hard to prove you, specifically are using their network. However, if it does get to the point where they take you to court, you must never underestimate the ignorance and lack of technical understanding of judges. However, in general, try not to piss off your neighbors as they may end up calling the ISP which will expose you. It doesn't take much to convince someone that a technically abled person like yourself (I'm assuming you are) is responcible. Take note that it is quite easy for an ISP to know the OS, browser, and everysite you have gone to. Also WEP encryption is not difficult to break. It just takes a couple hours at most. As of now, there is not such thing as secure wifi.

Gravis

unfairfax@adaptivetime.com

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: rstidman ()
Date: April 22, 2005 02:46PM

Gravis, WPA-SPK is powerful protection that cannot be broken on the ways that make plain WEP susceptible. WPA-SPK uses a passphrase for authentication and then uses TKIP, or in some cases AES, to create a random WEP key to encrypt each packet... and if one does not use password generation and makes a truly random key, WEP-128 (or even better 256 on some home systems now) does not contain the "bypass hole" that made previous implementations of WEP basically useless, and breaking a 128-bit key at random without a supplemental dictionary attack would take an unreasonable amount of time. If you know of some other bypass method I would be eager to hear about it.

Admittedly a lot of "savvy home users" are morons who will use the passphrase generation. Then all you have to do is set the dictionary attack loose and yes, you nail them exponentially quicker.

Plus the DMCA states pretty strictly that bypassing intentionally implemented encryption to enter a data system is illegal.

My point in all of this being that protection for wifi is available to those who wish to perform the duties that go along with using it, they have a reasonable expectation of protection under those cirumstances. That nullifies the argument that anyone who uses wep deserves to be taken, but only in the limited set of users who actually take steps towards protection.


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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: freshman ()
Date: September 23, 2005 03:36PM

Fuck ethics

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: KeepOnTruckin ()
Date: May 09, 2006 01:03AM

If they can't secure it, you can use it. Plain and simple.

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: jimW ()
Date: January 16, 2009 02:49PM

--------------------------
ยง 18.2-152.6. Theft of computer services; penalties.

Any person who willfully obtains computer services without authority is guilty of the crime of theft of computer services, which shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the theft of computer services is valued at $2,500 or more, he is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
--------------------------
so ...... if i open up my wireless so that all can access. then find out who they are, i can call the police and press charges??!?

I guess it all comes down to the definition of "computer services"

Ethically it makes sense that I should not cancel my internet service, and use my neighbor's.

Analogy:
I buy food at the grocery store. I prepare that food, then set it out on the driveway (where the garbage goes, i.e. public property) in a nice paper bag. If someone walked by and took it, and ate it. would they be a criminal? or would I just be stupid/generous?

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Re: ethics and unsecured wifi
Posted by: Free WiFi Guy ()
Date: July 26, 2009 11:06PM

I leave mine open on purpose. I'm a software engineer by trade, and I certainly know how to lock it down. But the fact is, the usable signal only reaches to my immediate neighbors (all of whom I know), and I more or less trust them not to abuse it. I've "borrowed" other people's connections when I needed it for one reason or another, and figure I should return the favor. And as long as I'm not having performance problems, they're welcome to it.

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