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WiFi Piggybacking Arrest - revisited.

Another wifi-related arrest was publicized today. In the past, the only case readily available to researchers involved additional seedy activities that are what really drew the arrest. The coffeeshop and other open hotspots show up on several sites such as jiwire and wifinder which are devoted to helping people find wireless hotspots.

In this case, a coffeeshop noticed someone leeching their WiFi parked in his truck -- over the course of 3 months, without ever entering the coffeehouse and making a purchase. While not yet convicted of anything, he has been arrested for "theft of services," and this could mean the first precedent set for whether or not "wireless piggybacking" is illegal. The case becomes especially interesting for both sides of the ethical debate on "borrowing" wireless. One one side of the judge's opinion will be the fact that the coffeehouse is a public place, not a private home. On the other side, it turns out the man who was arrested just so happens to be a registered sex offender, though this coincidental fact is not technically relevant to the case.
posted by twiggy on Jun 22, 2006 - 259 comments

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