Use Someone Else's Wi-Fi, Go To Jail

Most people know about laws prohibiting unauthorized access to a computer network. But did you know borrowing someone else's wireless connection was illegal? There have been a growing number of cases in the U.S. and worldwide where people have been arrested and charged with a felony for connecting to the Internet over someone else's unsecured WiFi signal.

Recently, a Michigan man narrowly avoided a possible five-year sentence and $10,000 fine for using a neighborhood coffee shop's Internet connection from his car each day. Prosecutors ultimately decided to let him slide with a small fine and community service. In another example, a homeowner in Florida called police to report a suspicious car. Police found the driver using the resident's Internet connection and are prosecuting the third-degree felony.

This also brings to light the importance of adding decent security to your own home WiFi equipment...otherwise who knows what your neighbors or even people parked on the street might be doing on the Internet that could be traced back to you...that they don't want traced back to them.

May 2007

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