Talk:Florida man charged with stealing Wi-Fi

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I made an overnight stop a couple months ago in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina to stay at a motel that offered wireless internet access. Talking to the hotel management, who were basically inexperienced with the technology, they said only recently that they had set up a wireless network for the hotel. Once the wireless internet connection was implemented, they noticed cars parked in their parking lot that were using the the hotel's wireless signal to gain access to the internet on laptops with wireless networking cards. The hotel began using a wireless key code as a result. -Edbrown05 8 July 2005 02:34 (UTC)

"more sinister Internet activities, such as pornography or other illegal endeavors." ??? Since when is pornography illegal, or sinister, for that matters ? Rama 8 July 2005 14:26 (UTC)

As pointed out on slashdot, internet protocols inherently are based on negotiation and accepting message-passing. When you try to access a webpage, your request goes through dozens of other servers. At each point, a request is made to pass data along, and that request is (usually fullfilled). When someone accesses a non-secured WiFi, their computer is esentially sending out a (DHCP) request, and the WiFi router is responding, saying "yes you have access." There is no way for the person's computer to know they are "not allowed" to use the access point if they are granted access. This is the nature of the internet. If you try to access a resource, and the resource says "permission granted" then you naturally assume that what you're doing is okay. Even for the user, there is no way to differentiate between a free access point (in a coffee shop) and a home user's access point. Both register as "available" from a standards point of view. This guy was not "hacking" the access point, but merely sending out legitimate connection requests, and being granted access. What's my point? Something akin to this perhaps is worth mentioning in the article. I'm new to wikinews, and not sure if we're supposed to just "stick to the facts" or if a little bit of editorializing is a good idea. 8 July 2005 22:27 (UTC)

  • Wikinews is required to have the Neutral Point of View. If that is the essence of the man's defence strategy, Wikinews can report it as being that strategy. If that is commentary on the arrest itself written and published by someone else, we can report the commentary and attribute it to the person making it (as long as it is verifiable). However, Wikinews itself has no opinion. Wikinews cannot state directly that the charges here are either ill-founded or well-founded, or make direct comment on the worth of such prosecutions as public policy. It can only, neutrally, report other people's (attributed) opinions. Uncle G 9 July 2005 00:02 (UTC)

no legal precedent[edit]

There is no current precedent in law that indicates that Mr Smith's activities are illegal. I would be interested to know what he was charged with upon arrest given that his access was not "unauthorized" since it appears the wireless router in question required no log on authorization (there was no encryption) thus essentially making it a public access point. MK-Florida

Link broken[edit]

Man charged with stealing Wi-Fi signal". CNN, July 7, 2005

The above yields a 404

Thank you for notifying Wikinews about this problem. It has been fixed. FellowWikiNews (W) (sign here!) 23:16, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Broken Link[edit]

St Petersburg Times link is faulty. <--that works —Junglefowl 16:34, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

two errors - please unlock the page for corrections[edit]

  1. WiFi is *not* an acronym for "Wireless Fidelity".
  2. Wi-Fi is the official designation.

War is peace (talk) 16:45, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

I changed all instances of WiFi to Wi-Fi. I also added a note for the acronym. Cheers, Van der Hoorn (talk) 14:03, 19 July 2009 (UTC)


Has there been an outcome to this case? I certainly hope that the charge didn't stick, but with the law's rampant ignorance about network technology, I wouldn't be surprised if it did. So how do I find out, and can we report the case's status here? —Toby Bartels 22:40, 14 November 2007 (UTC)