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Wide open access points



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 17th 06, 12:50 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
nut
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 45
Default Wide open access points

Hi all

I've some questions for the legal gurus in here...

There's a shop across the road from me with an open wireless network.

I don't have wireless here - i'm all wired up so it doesn't affect me, but
anyone visiting me with a wireless laptop gets issued an IP without any
intervention on their part and can surf the net for free.

What is the legality of this? Is it their fault for having a wide open
network, or are my friends committing a crime just by turning their laptops
on? Am i committing a crime by letting them turn their laptops on?!

Another couple of questions - which i have no intention of doing, just
curious...

What if i set up a wireless box running P2P on their network? Am i
committing a crime by using their bandwidth? Are they committing a crime by
"letting me" download illegal software on their network?

Finally, what if i were to reconfigure their router, or browse their
network, or copy files? At what point am i committing a crime?


  #2  
Old May 17th 06, 01:12 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Mike H
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 22
Default Wide open access points

Hi Nut,
I'm not legally qualified, but if I could just make a point or two..

1. All the legislation in this area is quite new, so there are few
precedents to go by, thus it is difficult to know how the law will be
applied in practice.

2. There was a test case a few months back (perhaps someone with a little
time could Google for it) where a guy was prosecuted as a result of
accessing someone elses' wireless network. This situation was a little
different to what you yourself have described, but the features of the case
were that he did access the network on several occasions, he had been asked
to stop, he was prosecuted for (IIRC) using a [telegraphic??] service
without payment. Also, I believe that an attempt had been made to make the
target network secure, but this was implied in the reports I read as opposed
to being definitively stated.

3. Section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act has been written so widely that you
are probably infringing it by logging on your OWN computer! Go read the Act,
so some lateral thinking, and you will see that my comment is only half
joking! Again, this is new legislation, so we will need to see (over time)
how it would be applied in practice, but (IMHO) it would certainly cover the
latter example scenarios you mention.

4. What is the difference between an Access Point which has been left open,
and a public wireless HotSpot, and how would a user be able to (beyond a
reasonable doubt?) tell the difference?

Regards, - Mike



"nut" wrote in message
...
Hi all

I've some questions for the legal gurus in here...

There's a shop across the road from me with an open wireless network.

I don't have wireless here - i'm all wired up so it doesn't affect me, but
anyone visiting me with a wireless laptop gets issued an IP without any
intervention on their part and can surf the net for free.

What is the legality of this? Is it their fault for having a wide open
network, or are my friends committing a crime just by turning their

laptops
on? Am i committing a crime by letting them turn their laptops on?!

Another couple of questions - which i have no intention of doing, just
curious...

What if i set up a wireless box running P2P on their network? Am i
committing a crime by using their bandwidth? Are they committing a crime

by
"letting me" download illegal software on their network?

Finally, what if i were to reconfigure their router, or browse their
network, or copy files? At what point am i committing a crime?




  #3  
Old May 17th 06, 01:22 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
John DH
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 24
Default Wide open access points


"nut" wrote in message
...
Hi all

I've some questions for the legal gurus in here...

There's a shop across the road from me with an open wireless network.

I don't have wireless here - i'm all wired up so it doesn't affect me, but
anyone visiting me with a wireless laptop gets issued an IP without any
intervention on their part and can surf the net for free.

What is the legality of this? Is it their fault for having a wide open
network, or are my friends committing a crime just by turning their

laptops
on? Am i committing a crime by letting them turn their laptops on?!

Another couple of questions - which i have no intention of doing, just
curious...

What if i set up a wireless box running P2P on their network? Am i
committing a crime by using their bandwidth? Are they committing a crime

by
"letting me" download illegal software on their network?

Finally, what if i were to reconfigure their router, or browse their
network, or copy files? At what point am i committing a crime?


There was a case not so long back where the circumstances were very similar.

The court held that the person using the others network without consent was
committing an offence. The fact that the network was not secure was not
accepted as a defence. I can't remember the exact fine, but it was hefty to
say the least.

There is a whole raft of legislation under the theft act which covers this.

John DH


  #4  
Old May 17th 06, 01:31 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Peter Crosland
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,463
Default Wide open access points

I've some questions for the legal gurus in here...

There's a shop across the road from me with an open wireless network.

I don't have wireless here - i'm all wired up so it doesn't affect me, but
anyone visiting me with a wireless laptop gets issued an IP without any
intervention on their part and can surf the net for free.

What is the legality of this? Is it their fault for having a wide open
network, or are my friends committing a crime just by turning their
laptops on? Am i committing a crime by letting them turn their laptops
on?!

Another couple of questions - which i have no intention of doing, just
curious...

What if i set up a wireless box running P2P on their network? Am i
committing a crime by using their bandwidth? Are they committing a crime
by "letting me" download illegal software on their network?

Finally, what if i were to reconfigure their router, or browse their
network, or copy files? At what point am i committing a crime?


Any use of a computer system that you are not authorised to use is an
offence. Try asking in uk.legal.moderated for more information.

Peter Crosland


  #5  
Old May 17th 06, 02:02 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Tim Downie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 138
Default Wide open access points

Peter Crosland wrote:

Any use of a computer system that you are not authorised to use is an
offence. Try asking in uk.legal.moderated for more information.


What if you don't know that you're using someone else's network? (I've
known it happen). I guess ignorance isn't an excuse but whatever the law
says, I think the onus must be on the access point owner to make it secure.

Leaving a network open is akin to throwing candy in the street. Expecting
folk *not* to pick it up because the law says so is unrealistic.

Tim


  #6  
Old May 17th 06, 02:11 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Richard Tobin
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 273
Default Wide open access points

In article ,
Tim Downie wrote:

What if you don't know that you're using someone else's network? (I've
known it happen). I guess ignorance isn't an excuse


Ignorance of the law itself isn't an excuse, but many laws only apply
if you "knowingly" perform some action.

-- Richard
  #7  
Old May 17th 06, 02:22 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Tim Downie
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 138
Default Wide open access points

Richard Tobin wrote:
In article ,
Tim Downie wrote:

What if you don't know that you're using someone else's network?
(I've known it happen). I guess ignorance isn't an excuse


Ignorance of the law itself isn't an excuse, but many laws only apply
if you "knowingly" perform some action.


That muddys the water a bit then. Surely all you'd need to do to keep
yourself in the clear then is to deny that you were "knowingly" using
someone else's network.

I'm not trying to defend using an open network BTW, it's just that the law
seems to be a bit out of touch with modern wireless technology which in
effect, lays out a huge "Welcome" mat to all and sundry if you don't secure
your network.

Tim


  #8  
Old May 17th 06, 02:55 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Nick
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 28
Default Wide open access points

nut wrote:
Hi all

[...]
What if i set up a wireless box running P2P on their network? Am i
committing a crime by using their bandwidth? Are they committing a crime by
"letting me" download illegal software on their network?


Ultimately, responsibility for actions taken over the broadband
connection rests with the account holder of that connection. However,
that doesn't mean that the person using the p2p software is off the hook
- as breach of copyright (or ownership of other dodgy stuff - say,
child porn) could be a seperate charge levelled against the user of the
open access point.

Finally, what if i were to reconfigure their router, or browse their
network, or copy files? At what point am i committing a crime?


If you cannot prove authorisation, then (AFAIK) any access is a crime -
whether you modify/copy/break anything or not.

IANAL (thankfully!), but I think that's fairly close...

xF,

....Nick
  #9  
Old May 17th 06, 04:02 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Richard Tobin
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 273
Default Wide open access points

In article ,
Tim Downie wrote:

That muddys the water a bit then. Surely all you'd need to do to keep
yourself in the clear then is to deny that you were "knowingly" using
someone else's network.


You might equally say that if you were accused of murder, all you'd
need to do is deny that you "intended" to kill the victim. But in
both cases, the jury would have to decide whether you were telling the
truth.

-- Richard
  #10  
Old May 17th 06, 04:34 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
Beck
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 56
Default Wide open access points


"John DH" - wrote in message news:[email protected]

There was a case not so long back where the circumstances were very
similar.

The court held that the person using the others network without consent
was
committing an offence. The fact that the network was not secure was not
accepted as a defence. I can't remember the exact fine, but it was hefty
to
say the least.

There is a whole raft of legislation under the theft act which covers
this.


How did they find out who it was?


 




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