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MD Bill Would Criminalize Theft of Wireless Access

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the blinking-zeros dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 764

Pickens writes "A bill presented by Delegate LeRoy E. Myers Jr. to the Maryland House of Delegates would criminalize purposely surfing the Internet on someone else's wireless connection. The bill would make intentional unauthorized access to another person's computer, network, database, or software a misdemeanor with a penalty up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000. The Maryland public defender's office has submitted written testimony opposing the specific ban and penalty suggested in Myers' bill. Noting that wireless connections are becoming common in neighborhoods, the written testimony says: 'A more effective way to prevent unauthorized access would be for owners to secure their wireless networks with assistance where necessary from Internet service providers or vendors.'"

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come here, sweetheart (5, Funny)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809124)

You say "no," but your router says "yes."

Re:come here, sweetheart (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809376)

You say "no", but your window says "yes" - please, do mankind a favour and shut your curtains next time you undress!

Re:come here, sweetheart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809444)

In the UK they have been prosecuting people for this for a while.

Re:come here, sweetheart (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809576)

How is this criminal? This is like a perfect example of a civil offense.

Re:come here, sweetheart (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809742)

I assume that it falls under the computer misuse laws--the same laws which prohibit hacking into a computer.

I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (4, Interesting)

Panaqqa (927615) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809126)

...after all, who is to determine whether someone purposely accessed the wireless connection. I know I have been in neighbourhoods where there were many wireless connections, and while I thought I was connecting through my host's access point, it turned out to be someone else's.

So, who it going to determine whether the access was on purpose, or the more likely alternative, accidental?

Re:I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809176)

I'd hate to think that even the presence of aircrack-ng on your computer could damn you in court.

Re:I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (0, Flamebait)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809248)

A jury will determine. Duh. Do you know how the judicial system works?

Do you know what "probable cause" means? How about "reasonable doubt"?

Stop being scared of a perfectly reasonable law.

Re:I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (2, Informative)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809524)

Read the summary - misdemeanor. In other words, if the prosecdution decides to ask for no more than 6 months jail time, or just for a fine, no right to a jury trial for you!

Re:I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809668)


What is "perfectly reasonable" about that law?

Re:I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (1)

jmnormand (941909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809262)

was wondering the same thing. based on the article its sounds like the intentions are in the right place but there is a lack of real knowledge of the technical details. The time and effort would be much better spent trying to educate consumers or enacting more secure default standards than coming up with vague laws aimed a prosecution.

Re:I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809408)

Should I change my SSID from "VISTADONOTPASSGO" then? ... oh, hang on it's just been /.ed

Just another dumb idea (2, Informative)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809432)

From a politician who doesn't have a clue.

Re:I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (3, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809674)

Easy,

If you ask for permission (DHCP Request) and the equipment says (to paraphrase) "absolutley, come on 0:0c:fa:a8:gc:bb hear is where I keep the gateway to the internet, I will make sure to send you data that comes for you, and direct any data you send to the correct place.", than absolutely the have permission.

If you have to monkey around setting up static addressing, or finding keys or what not, than it enters a gray area.

Re:I don't like that word "purposely" in there... (1)

doojsdad (1162065) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809702)

Even my wife's Dell 1420N running Ubuntu insists on connecting to my neighbors wireless upon bootup, so we can't blame this one on Windows. Sometimes I forget that this happens and can use it for hours before it occurs to me. I can't figure out a way to prevent it from happening without disabling wireless by default.

abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (5, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809150)

Yeah, and I suppose that sitting in someone else's light, or perhaps walking on their lawn should be criminalized too?

Yes, we pay for the internet, but if you don't secure your network, and the pedestrian use doesn't impair your surfing experience... no harm, no foul. At least, thats what I think - but I'm still not running the world *sigh*

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (3, Funny)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809222)

just rememeber: Like your life, your fortune and your sacred honor, Wirless is not yours to share. You cannot share what you do not own. What, you think this is a free country or somethin?

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (2, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809254)

I'm not american. Where I live, it IS a free country.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (3, Interesting)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809308)

I suppose if it were handled like trespassing then the owner of wireless LAN could request that you leave it, and call the "cyber police" if you don't. Wait, I guess they'd be calling the secret service? Or would it be the FBI?

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (1)

BlewScreen (159261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809470)

I believe the organization you are looking for is the Air Force [defensetech.org]

As mentioned in the article I linked to, their mission statement begins with:

The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace...

-bs

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (0, Troll)

vcgodinich (1172985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809332)

Wait, so basically what you are saying is that it shouldn't be illegal to steal something if it is stolen easily. Leaving your car unlocked doesn't make it legal for someone else to use it. Easier maybe, but not legal.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809440)

Wait, so basically what you are saying is that it shouldn't be illegal to steal something if it is stolen easily. Leaving your car unlocked doesn't make it legal for someone else to use it. Easier maybe, but not legal.

Comparing using a radio signal to stealing a car. Are you really so stupid, or are you just trolling?

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809450)

No, he's saying it shouldn't be illegal to take something that is offered to you for free.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809550)

When my WiFi card picks up "Linksys" by default, it takes me a minute until I realize it's a connection from my neighbor. Unfortunately this bill doesn't take into account the fact that this "theft" happens by default, making intentional use hard to prove.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (1)

ShiningSomething (1097589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809602)

No, the question is what should be done to stop people from doing something that is believed to be wrong. If you accept that most people would not want to share their internet access, even if they have a wireless router, you could go in one of two ways: you can penalize those that connect to unsecured networks against their owners' wishes (they are the ones who would make use of the law, in any case); or you could teach people to secure their networks, so that mostly people who don't mind sharing are left with open wireless connections. It certainly seems easier and more cost effective to have ISPs provide customer support explaining how to secure networks than to prosecute or fine people who connect to open wireless networks. I mean, if a slashdotter connects to an unsecured wireless network, I'm sure they know what they are doing (ditto if they choose not to secure their own network). But for most people it's just a matter of a popup in the lower corner of their screens saying they are connected. Magic, basically. And it may be the wrong network, but they don't know.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (3, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809680)

"If you accept that most people would not want to share their internet access"

My guess is, most people wouldn't care whether you shared their internet access or not. Not unless you ran so much traffic over it 24/7 that you caused their access to be degraded. At that point I'd think they might want to kick you off.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (1)

dspolleke (1139333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809390)

Across the pond, in the Netherlands (guess where i live) it is illegal to use another computer sytem or network that is not yours and you do not have consent to use... It has been so since september 2006.. So far no arrests yet.. cops here don't understand they have to impound your machine to prove you used a wireless network that is not yours... The discussion here was about how you can prove someone gave consent to let you use his or her network.. Well you have Fon and stuff but if you do not secure your wireless network you can not specify who you give access. In a perfect world every WAP is secured by default and you are nagged for a password ... in a perfect world...maranatha

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809734)

exactly. the definition of "consent" would be in conflict between the technological definition (open network allowing you to connect) vs. owner's consent and whether the former reasonably implies the latter.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809396)

Yeah! When I leave my car unlocked & running on the side of the road (like an idiot), someone takes it, and then returns it later undamaged and with a full tank, the only reasonable response should be 'no harm no foul'. So what if they used it to commit a felony? No biggie...

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809412)

"perhaps walking on their lawn should be criminalized too?"
It is called trespassing.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809424)

Yeah, and I suppose that sitting in someone else's light, or perhaps walking on their lawn should be criminalized too?
Not really the same thing. This is more like, "I suppose that plugging my A/C into my neighbor's outdoor electrical outlet should be criminalized too? After all, he didn't put a lock-box over it."

I pay for and use my bandwidth. If you start stealing it, you would certainly inconvenience me.

Re:abra-ca-de-ridiculous! (2, Informative)

stuporglue (1167677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809696)

Everywhere I've lived I've paid a fixed rate for internet connectivity. I pay the same if I use it or not, and so I keep my wireless completely open for anyone to use.

Need a car analogy? Ok. this is a stretch.

Imagine you have to buy car rental package each month. There is one that lets you drive 56k miles and one that lets you drive 122864k miles (15Mbps, what I get). You have to get the bigger package even though it's much too big because the 56k package is too small. Why *wouldn't* you let other people use the extra miles you've already purchased and are going to just throw away?

I pay for my bandwidth too, but there's no way I could use all of it each month. I like to help other people since it doesn't cost me any extra.

Stupid rednecks! (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809154)

It's funny, because, the most pre-eminent security guy in the USA, Bruce Schneir, who wrote THE book on cryptography, actually leaves his home WAP open so that people can squat on it. He thinks that if we all had our own open WAPS, we could all sorta squat on each other's wans, be much more effective as a society overall. Really, what this law is is an attempt to criminalize a culture of sharing.

Re:Stupid rednecks! (2, Insightful)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809250)

I am betting its your friendly Phone Co. Monopoly Lobbing the House of Delegates, trying to make people pay them more cash.

Re:Stupid rednecks! (2, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809498)

what this law is is an attempt to criminalize a culture of sharing.
No the problem is some people do not want to add to the pot. Some people do not want to also purchase a WAP. They think everything should be free. So if 5 people in a given area all have their own WAP the 6th guy thinks he does not have to pitch in. That is what this is making illegal, or rather it is because of that sharing is now illegal.

Re:Stupid rednecks! (3, Funny)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809506)

Bruce also know how to lock down his shares, build vlans, segment networks, build captive portals, monitor traffic, etc. Joe Shmoe doesnt. The best advice for non-techies is to use WPA on their wireless.

>Really, what this law is is an attempt to criminalize a culture of sharing.

Yeah, its a big conspiracy d00d! The other day I tried to give someone a hoho and a police man shot at me!

Re:Stupid rednecks! (5, Insightful)

h3llfish (663057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809706)

>> Yeah, its a big conspiracy d00d!

Are you sure that it isn't? Ask yourself, why did the Maryland government feel a need to address this issue at all? Because they had been flooded by emails from constituents who were furious over their stolen bandwidth? Or because telcos/cablecos/ISPs realized how easy wireless makes it to share a connection with your neighbor? I can't say for sure either way, but I know which of the two groups has more pull with most politicians.

Re:Stupid rednecks! (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809642)

Also, this delegate (Leroy Myers) last year introduced a bill that would criminalize the hanging of those fake testicles from the backs of trucks. [washingtonpost.com] To put it lightly, this delegate appears to have issues... and should probably stick to fake testicles rather than wireless internet policy.

Re:Stupid rednecks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809690)

you sort of lost me at "we could all sorta squat on each other's wans"
gross

Dangers of RTFA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809168)

The article presents all the necessary counter arguments to the proposed bill. What in the heck are we supposed to talk about now?

I know... Isn't Wil Wheaton awesome?

Unsecured networks get connected to by default (4, Informative)

module0000 (882745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809178)

...in pre-XP windows, and pre-SP1 installations of XP.

Yey, my OS breaks the law for me!

Re:Unsecured networks get connected to by default (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809480)

We need a protocol that prevents this by makes it clear if an access point is intended for public use. Say, publicly open access points broadcast a signal saying they are their and ready for connects, then the client must request permission to connect to the access point and then once connected must also ask for permission and details on how connect to the internet. Only then should someone be able to know for sure they aren't stealing bandwidth from someone who didn't want to share. It shouldn't be too hard to implement such a protocol, since it's already supported by most WiFi boxes.

Non sequitur (2, Interesting)

Palinchron (924876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809180)

The bill would make intentional unauthorized access to another person's computer, network, database, or software a misdemeanor with a penalty up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.
And how does purposely surfing the Internet on someone else's wireless connection match that definition? After all, the open wireless access point I use to surf the internet explicitly authorized my access when I asked him about it.

Re:Non sequitur (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809744)

You certainly got the right subject line since your comment makes no sense. If you're authorized to use it, then go ahead, its fine. If you are not authorized to use it, its illegal. The Access Point itself cannot authorize you in the eyes of the law, only the preson who owns/pays for the connection can, or another who can act on their behalf.

Yeesh (5, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809190)

Given how silently Windows is able to connect to a wireless network, I don't see how this law would last. Computer novices with brand new laptops will just turn them on and start surfing the net without having a clue about what an ISP is, how the internet work, or even how they are connecting to the internet. They know there is this thing called the "internet" and that when they click on the big blue "e", they are accessing the internet. Where do you draw the line between the innocent bystander and the criminal?

Re:Yeesh (2, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809562)

That's a really sticky point. But, that's the difference between "intentional unauthorized access" and "unintentional unauthorized access". So, the law does address that. The trick is, how do you determine intent?

Re:Yeesh (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809564)

Given how silently Windows is able to connect to a wireless network, I don't see how this law would last. Computer novices with brand new laptops will just turn them on and start surfing the net without having a clue about what an ISP is, how the internet work, or even how they are connecting to the internet. They know there is this thing called the "internet" and that when they click on the big blue "e", they are accessing the internet. Where do you draw the line between the innocent bystander and the criminal?


that argument loses (some) weight when you consider that Windows Vista asks you like half a billion confirmation dialogues when you tell it to connect to an unencrypted wireless net, and it asks you tons more when you try to make that unencrypted 'net the default connection.

Re:Yeesh (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809650)

Not really. Believe me, newbies do not read warning messages. Especially if they're using Vista, where they become used to clicking Allow a billion times a day, they will not think twice before clicking Yes or OK or Allow or whatever is stopping them.

Re:Yeesh (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809700)

Where do you draw the line between the innocent bystander and the criminal?
you can't look into people's heads so legally, I don't think there is a way to tell the difference. but really at what point are people obligated to actually learn about basic computing skills and stop being shielded because of their willful ignorance? it seems to be a common defense- but but I don't know that! could you imagine how that would work anywhere else? driving? work? taxes?

i agree with the public defender (5, Insightful)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809196)

The public defender is absolutely right. If you don't want other people surfing on your connection, it takes seriously five seconds to click a checkbox and enter a password on your router. If you leave your router open to all connections, that should legally mean that you desire to share your connection with others, since that is what will inevitably occur with such a setup. Leaving your router open like this is akin to bringing a box of donuts to work and leaving it open on the lunchroom tables.

Re:i agree with the public defender (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809442)

Yes, because nobody like FON [fon.com] might actually have a legitimate business out of that or anything, right? Or that systems tend to connect to wireless by default? Or what about places that offer free wireless such as a starbucks? Is it grab a coffee, surf the web, go to jail?

Not to be personally attacking you but come on dude. Any amount of logic should show the absence of logic from the MD.

Oh whups, that 5 second key, not so easy. That would be a very easily crackable form of wireless, yet again. More complicated types take more setup. Or, lets use your example. You saying you can sue someone taking one of the donuts you left out and/or that said person is a criminal?

Methods that would fool more people (and be more simple) = Mac address filtering. Someone will not be able to figure out why they simply can't connect to your router, etc.

Re:i agree with the public defender (1)

suck_burners_rice (1258684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809682)

I'm not sure if you understood me correctly, or perhaps I wasn't clear. I think it makes no sense whatsoever to pass a law like this MD one. This kind of bill shows that its writers have no idea about technology or about wireless networking. It's a simple matter. If you want people to share your connection, by all means leave it open. If you don't wish to share your connection, then take the simple steps that it takes to secure your wireless router. Now, if your router is thus secured and someone cracks it and uses it anyway, then it should be a punishable offense, since it is obvious that you did not want to share your connection and someone deliberately took the trouble to use it despite that. But if you leave it insecure, both you and the law should expect others to use that connection. Because if you leave a box of donuts open next to the coffee machine, it means that it was your intention to share them.

Re:i agree with the public defender (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809622)

this is akin to bringing a box of donuts to work and leaving it open on the lunchroom tables
Not so much. The lunchroom in your analogy in a public area, where personal ownership must be explicitly announced to be enforceable (like putting your name on your sack lunch in the fridge). I think the situation would be more akin to bringing donuts to work and then leaving them in an unlocked desk drawer. Everybody knows that's where they are, and they are not secured in any way. But it would still technically be stealing if you took them.

Recently moved... (1)

hbean (144582) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809204)

...and my wireless network is the only in the neighborhood.

That thing is locked down so tight that...well. Its locked down pretty tight. I don't need some weirdo jumping on my network to download kiddie pr0n or something of the sort. That alone should be enough reason for ppl to secure their networks.

That being said, when I set up my parent's network, I left it unsecured. Why? Well, two reasons. I didn't wan them calling about the password they managed to forget 100 times. Secondly they live out in the sticks, barely in range of the local DSL provider. To access the network youd literally have to be most of the way up their ridiculous 1/4 mile driveway.

Why'd I post all this? IM BORED NUB.

Re:Recently moved... (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809536)

Mines open-ish. Anyone can connect to it, but it's throttled and doesn't allow access to my local network. I also do some blacklisting, more just so I don't have the outraged parents of my kids friends calling me up and asking me why I'm letting their kids surf horse porn on my internet connection (answer: forgot to pay the cable bill).

Before the kid thing got to be an issue I pretty much left it wide open, though I still locked it out of the local network. Just lowball the priority of traffic moving through that interface, so the neighbors porn surfing doesn't up my TFII latency, and I'm all good.

Anyway, in the true spirit of things, having an open WAP is a good excuse for anything that gets downloaded on your connection, so why worry that someone else might be downloading something illegal?

Draco would be proud (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809206)

I was searching for the humor in this, and then I got to the part about three years imprisonment . I guess that's funny in a sort "your grandmother just died, but when she did her false teeth exploded into the air, what a hoot" sort of dark way.

Re:Draco would be proud (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809542)

I was searching for the humor in this, and then I got to the part about three years imprisonment .
Remember that with laws like this, the maximum penalty is for extreme cases. I would expect that a judge wouldn't even go close to the $1000 maximum fine if I access your network to check my email. On the other hand, if I use your wireless network to send spam to thousands of people, 24 hours a day, for a whole year, until you and the police figure it out, that is a different situation.

"Purposely" is the key (2, Insightful)

floorpirate (696768) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809212)

It's only a crime if they can prove you used the neighbor's wireless intentionally. My laptop loves to connect to random wireless connections instead of my own - hell, it tries to connect to wireless connections that aren't even there (such as the wireless at my workplace) instead of connecting to my home wireless first. How do you prove it wasn't intentional? How do they prove it was?

Re:"Purposely" is the key (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809314)

If its got any security at all, even WEP, or even if broadcast ssid is off and you are on it, I can reasonably allege that you did it on purpose.

Re:"Purposely" is the key (1)

floorpirate (696768) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809502)

That seems to be the main distinction I see when these type of stories come up - the "theft" is always on completely open, unprotected routers, usually straight out of the box and plugged into someone's cable modem, SSID screaming out "LINKSYS"! to anything in range. Computers will look for the strongest, most easily accessible network, and they never have to look far. I'm not about to go poking around on networks where I'm obviously not wanted, but if my computer decides that the Linksys next door is being the friendliest router today and connects, this becomes a problem that either the manufacturer or the device owner needs to address - jail time for the accidentally connected user isn't the way to fix it.

Re:"Purposely" is the key (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809460)

Yeah, my laptop came with Backtrack installed as its OS and this Cisco Aironet wireless card I got off eBay seems to have had its firmware modified some time in the past such that it does things that Cisco did not necessarily intend it to do. Also, strangely enough, when my laptop boots up, it takes a few minutes at the end executing a bunch of scripts with some weird hex data that finally appears on the screen, then blinks out. I don't mind though, my laptop seems to get onto the internet everywhere I go, even when they claim they have WPA this, or WEP that, whatever those things are.

I just wish I had more space for my music files. Half my hard drive is taken up by some directory called "Rainbow Tables", which I'm guessing has something to do with the OS's file system or a database or something.

Re:"Purposely" is the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809572)

You seriously want to leave such determinations to juries who are full of your peers, and by peers, I mean idiots who probably don't understand the technology to the same level that your slashdot users do. Or how about a bench trial in front of a judge who is probably equally (if not more) ignorant. Seriously, look at MD politicians and you will see a group with no common sense.

1. Remote car starters are essentially illegal. Because you know someone can easily steal your car and it is a hazard for police or some BS. (Sorry this is an insurance issue, not a legal one.)
2. After a cop caused serious injuries (and possibly death) on the Beltway during rush hour, lawmakers want to ban the "sports motorcycles" because the cop made a bad choice and decided to chase one of these bikes through rush hour traffic, when the bike could bob and weave through traffic.

Seriously, there is a reason I want to stay on this side of the Potomac.

Whoever tagged this humor... (2, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809218)

I don't think it's that funny. This is another example of an Orwellian society attempting to make everyone a criminal. I mean come on, THREE YEARS for doing something fairly innocent?

This is outrageous.

Re:Whoever tagged this humor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809382)

Yeah, much like the Orwellian Society of today has already tried to make everyone a criminal by declaring it illegal to gain unauthorized access to somebody's house.

Re:Whoever tagged this humor... (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809400)

THREE YEARS for doing something fairly innocent?
Nothing Orellian about it. It is stealing plain and simple. Someone else is paying the bill for access to the internet and someone else is using it also. It is no different then me purchasing a pack of Soda and you walking into my house and taking a can out of my fridge. The only difference is we already have a law to prevent that, and it is called Breaking and Entering.

Re:Whoever tagged this humor... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809694)

What? Are you paying by the bit for your internet? Does it cost you more if somebody else hooks up to your wireless? That was a horrible analogy. A somewhat better one might be someone walking into my house and storing their soda in my fridge. I might not notice until I need the space.

Xohm? (2, Insightful)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809220)

Not that I agree with the bill, but given that Sprint's WiMax is hitting Baltimore and DC, maybe Sprint has a vested interest in this bill being passed?

http://www.xohm.com/ [xohm.com]

Cheers!

Once again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809228)

... we have someone who probably knows very little about technology attempting to pass laws about technology. Great idea, schmuck.

Sounds reasonable (4, Funny)

peipas (809350) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809234)

While they're at it, they should criminalize unauthorized looking at hotties, although accidental looking is fine. It is an important issue, because if too many people crowd around to look at the hottie it will not be able to move.

Ridiculous bill (3, Informative)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809238)

What a ridiculous premise. If people are stupid enough to leave their wireless routers open, then it's their fault if someone uses it. Secure your router or don't complain when someone hops onto it. The other ridiculous part of this bill is that it classifies accessing someone's computer a misdemeanor.

According to the bill, intentional unauthorized access to another person's computer, network, database or software is a misdemeanor.
But then goes on to say this:

He said he didn't want unintentional use like that to be prosecuted the same as computer hacking.
Doesn't computer hacking including unauthorized access to someone's computer? Sorry, but you lost me.

Mostly agree, but... (1)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809410)

I mostly agree with you, but I expect the case will be made comparing accessing your neighbour's wide-open wireless network to be as bad as walking into your neighbour's house if he left the door unlocked, or using a found cell phone to make long-distance calls.

I guess there is some kind of theft going on, so there should be some kind of penalty - a fine, nothing more - but three years imprisonment? Here in Canada we can't even lock up drug dealers convicted of multiple offences for that long. Give me a break.

In a perfect world router manufacturers would set the security to "on" at the factory, but that would require consumers to understand a bit more about network setup than just "plug in, and pr0n".

Re:Ridiculous bill (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809522)

Ridiculous?

There is a router near my house which is open and on aol, each time i flash my routers firmware it defaults the router to the same id settings. Before my machine will connect to the newly flashed router i have to log on to someone elses box using the default password and change its id, then run my own and change it's id, then log bac in to someone elses to reset it again. I don't know who's it is and am past caring. But, If I did not log on to this rogue router to mess with the settings i would not be able to set up my own.

Proportional punishment to the crime (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809268)

Stealing someone's internet bandwidth (their porn came down slower than usual!) is now worth up to three years in the slammer? I always thought wardriving was a silly little crime like jaywalking, not something on the order of grand theft auto. Why is the punishment so steep in that bill?

what about my network? (4, Interesting)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809280)

My SSID is broadcasted as "FreeInternet" It is firewalled from my real network and unless it gets in the way of my gaming, I have no problem with whoever using my broadband. I have a "click here" to accept that you are not going to do anything illegal (via DNS intercept), mac addresses are logged, and most known methods of p2p are blocked... but if you need to check your google groups and you are near my house, why the heck would I care if you do so? It took like 2 hours to set that up. So would it still be illegal to knowingly use my "FreeInternet" network?

Re:what about my network? (5, Insightful)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809574)

So what your saying is if the child molester outside looks at the kiddie porn in his car and he gets traced. Your fucked. All you have is a mac address, all the District attorney will say is you threw the computer out. There are things worse then p2p.

This'll be great fun with my home webserver (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809286)

I just keep a few files there for friends and family, and I certainly never explicitly authorized anyone else to use it, but nothing stopped Google from scanning and indexing it too. Be careful of which search results you click on; you never know if I'm the kind of guy who would send some curious websurfer to jail for looking at pictures of my cat without my direct permission.

This Is Rapidly Becoming Less And Less Of An Issue (5, Informative)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809292)

Here in Toronto, Bell is already sending out wireless dsl routers with 128 bit WPA-PSK pre-configured, and the key printed on the base of the router. Hopefully, that'll soon be the norm everywhere.

Once everyone is using WPA, this is a non-issue. Even if an exploit is discovered that makes cracking WPA trivial, breaking encryption on someone else's network is clearly illegal, and it will be safe to assume that any unencrypted network is intended for public access.

I, for one, will not mourn the passing of a thousand light/water/keyhole/car-left-with-keys-in-ignition/radio/tv-through-window analogies.

Anyone but government officials and their lackeys (3, Insightful)

Mr Pippin (659094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809300)

Yet, warrantless searches of my laptop is still perfectly reasonable, right?

And it is also okay if a private company did something like this if government directed, too, right?

Cluelessness for the Mass (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809310)

"Hang 'em that will stop 'em. Dam Hackers. String 'em up, tall tree and all that."

More ignorant clueless congressmen running for office with nothing better to do with their time (like fixing healthcare, balancing the executive office, rebuilding infrastructure, etc...). Let's all be sure to vote for this genius in the future.

Crime & Punishment (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809328)

Does the punishment fit the crime? Router manufacturers should force you to secure your connection before enabling it? I could see 3 yrs in prison (hopefully longer) if you were piggy backing surfing child pr0n.

MS to Fix (2, Funny)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809338)

Hi,

Microsoft is fixing unsecured wireless access just like they did viruses and spam.

Thank you

Problems with this type of law (1)

GodCandy (1132301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809370)

The issues with this type of law are simple but apparently difficult for politicians. I think there should be laws about obtaining access to networks that have any sort of security measure in place. If you are running some type of wep wpa or other type of security then is should be illegal. It would be just as if I had a fence around my house with a lock on the gate and you jumped the fence.

However if you do not have any security because you are to naive to configure it or you just don't care I don't see where you have the right to complain. If you leave your house do you lock your door?? If not your just asking for someone to break in.

On another note I thing that wireless vendors should default the use of some type of security. This might make it slightly more difficult for the end user however would prevent the need for such laws.

I don't think there will ever be a clear cut answer to this issue though. Radio signals are imposable to control.

What then when the Feds come knocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809386)

...because somebody used your wirelesss connection and got caught by the RIAA, or worse by the FBI for something like child pr0n and all the authorities have is YOUR router's IP address?

Say you manage to get off scot-free, proving you're an innocent (and stupid?) victim, but who's going to pay for your legal fees? Most people would probably want to go after whoever used their connection in the first place. I think you would need *some* sort of law that would permit you to sue the unauthorized user over damages.

Criminalizing benefits big Telco's (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809402)

Telecommunications companies are asking for this bill because by criminalizing squatting, ppl are more likely to pay $$$ for their own connection.

This benefits the very people who are demanding retroactive immunity for illegal domestic spying.

CrIminalize THIS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22809418)


WAR CRIMINAL [whitehouse.org] .

Welcome to the United Gulags of Amerika

Default network names (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809420)

How many people leave their network names unchanged from the defaults? I don't think you can go into most neighborhoods and not find a "linksys" or "belkin54g" or something to that effect, especially one that's open.

You know what Ayn Rand said about the government eventually having to make criminals, right?

See you in court (1)

feld (980784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809532)

That's the final straw. I'm pressing charges. You know the name of my connection, linksys, so YOURE the one that's been on _MY_ internets! Who else could it possibly be?

I'm glad someone gets it (4, Insightful)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809422)

At least the public defender's office mentioned understands something of the nature of the thing. Unsecured WiFI APs are the "VCR flashing 12:00" for the 21st century, and the other half of the equation is how any WiFi interface will by default connect to the first AP it can do so with regardless of who ows it. Also how are they planning on differentiating between businesses and individuals that purposefully leave their APs open for customers or neighbors to use at will, are they planning to make them criminals as well? Stupid.

meh (1)

TheAngryIntern (785323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809540)

if someone is dumb enough to not have their wireless protected, then they deserve to have their connection leeched.

Re:meh (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809658)

if someone is dumb enough to not have their wireless protected, then they deserve to have their connection leeched.
Why would that be so? In other areas of the law vulnerable people are especially protected. You will be punished more severely for robbing a 70 year old grandma who cannot hold on to her handbag, and rightfully so. So why shouldn't people without the knowledge to secure their wireless network deserve special protection?

Typical politico stupidity (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809554)

better idea would be to legislate so that router manufacturers are required to enable wireless encryption by default. Then make it a criminal offense to crack someone else's encrypted network without their permission.

Doesn't this step on the FCC's toes? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809556)

The last I heard the FCC has exclusive authority to regulate the wireless spectrum and wireless devices. I've not heard where congress gave anyone else a slice of that authority other than the military.

This is important (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809582)

They need to prevent, or at least slow down the concept of community wireless mesh. So if they can scare people out of connecting to convenient access point, mission accomplished. It's the reasoning behind the attacks on P2P. And aren't there some who want to criminalize leaving your wireless open for others to use and hold you liable for possibly "illegal activity? It is necessary to dumb down the internet into TV as quickly and completely as possible... before desktop manufacturing of electronics becomes a reality and takes the hardware companies, who work with the authorities to censor and track people and impose their DRM and clipper chips, out of the control loop.

humor... where?

Define unauthorized? (1)

IIH (33751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809586)

If someone has a wireless connection and is broadcasting it with no any password or any other access control, can you really say accessing is unauthorized? In that setup, it is your computer seeing the wireless signal and asking, "Can I connect?" and the wireless network replying "Sure!"

How is that different to a property owner having a bouncer, and someone asking the bouncer "Can I come in?". If the bouncer says yes, would you be trespassing? However, if the owner had given the bouncer a list of people allowed, and you forged ID to get in, then you could be, even if you got a yes, but that's comparable to hacking a wep password.

Any legal bod want to hazard a guess whether estoppel could be used as a defence for cases where open networks are used validly? i.e. your advertised network settings gave me explicit permission to connect, which was relied on, so you cannot in person retroactively make the previous access unauthorised (but you can request not to connect in future)

Re:Define unauthorized? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809708)

If someone has a wireless connection and is broadcasting it with no any password or any other access control, can you really say accessing is unauthorized? In that setup, it is your computer seeing the wireless signal and asking, "Can I connect?" and the wireless network replying "Sure!"
If you want authorization to access my wireless network, asking my router for permission will do you no good. It is _me_ who you have to ask. If I say that I allow you to access my network, then you are authorized (better get it in writing). If I say no, or you didn't ask me, you are not authorized. My router is a stupid piece of hardware, totally unable to give or deny authorization.

Dumb ass... (1)

neowolf (173735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809588)

He probably left his own wireless connection open because he didn't know any better, and his "neighbor" was surfing porn on it.

Actual text of the bill (4, Informative)

Archonoid (1259662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809592)

Caps as in the original bill, emphasis mine.

"A person may not intentionally, willfully, and without
authorization access, attempt to access, cause to be accessed, or exceed the person's
authorized access to all or part of a computer network, computer control language,
computer, computer software, computer system, computer services OTHER THAN
WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE
, or computer database."

"A PERSON MAY NOT INTENTIONALLY, WILLFULLY, AND
WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION ACCESS, ATTEMPT TO ACCESS, CAUSE TO BE
ACCESSED, OR EXCEED THE PERSON'S AUTHORIZED ACCESS TO WIRELESS
INTERNET SERVICE WITH KNOWLEDGE THAT THE ACCESS IS UNAUTHORIZED
AND PROHIBITED BY LAW.
"

As I'm reading this, it seems like the most reasonable interpretation of the bill is: 1. You need authorization EXCEPT for wireless internet service, 2. When using wireless internet service, you may not access the service if you know that it's unauthorized and prohibited by law. It doesn't actually prohibit the access itself, it provides the fines for doing so if another law has made that access illegal.

Can any lawyers comment on this reading? Because it seems actually to be somewhat counter to the headline and summary, and actually somewhat benign.

Will This Get MediaSentry? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809606)

The bill would make intentional unauthorized access to another person's computer, network, database, or software a misdemeanor with a penalty up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.

Can this be used against MediaSentry for their unauthorized (who in their right mind did authorize them) access to computer systems? Love to see a few of them in jail right about now.

Oh, man... (1)

popmaker (570147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809608)

... I'm piggybacking as we speak!

But this is Denmark. :) Venlig hilsen!

Possible Motive??? (2, Interesting)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 6 years ago | (#22809732)

Hey, I live in this Bozo's district and have a theory about why he may be offering this bill: Do a Google for "Maryland Delegate Robert McKee" - a friend of Myers. McKee is under investigation on a child porn charge recently resigned his seat. Perhaps Myers is helping to establish an alibi? BTW, Maryland just instituted a new tax on IT Services which may or may not get repealed before it takes effect this summer!
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