May I use your Wi-Fi?

Tech Culture

If you don't secure your wireless network, I don't think it should be a crime if somebody else uses it. To be sure, there are plenty of people who leave their Wi-Fi networks open for the purpose of sharing their Internet connection.

But apparently not everybody agrees.

A Florida man was arrested in April and was set to have a pretrial hearing this month on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony, the Associated Press reported earlier this week.

In the U.K., a man was fined 500 pounds ($880) and sentenced to 12 months conditional discharge after a London court found him guilty of dishonestly obtaining an electronic communications service and possessing equipment for fraudulent use of a communications service, according to, a CNET sister publication.

In Florida the suspect was caught sitting in an SUV with a laptop. In the U.K., the man was reportedly standing outside a building in a residential area holding a laptop using the wireless network the folks living in the place set up.

Apparently I dodged a bullet earlier this year.

On a trip to Colorado a fellow skier told me that although the hotel we were both staying at did not have a wireless network, an apartment complex down the street did. So I sat on their doorstep in the freezing cold to check e-mail with my laptop.

Next time I will ring the door bell and ask if I may please use their Wi-Fi. Or will I then be arrested for something else? Disturbing the peace, harassment?

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