Legal Ramifications of Open Wireless Networks

Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

Quite a few different places cities/coffee shops/wealthier
neighborhoods have open wireless networks. From my understanding the
RIAA and MPAA figure out who is stealing what by demanding that ISP's
turn over the name of the users of an IP address at a specific time. If
someone uses a open wireless network there is no way to track down that
person down.Bacically my question is does the person who sets up a open
wireless network take the fall for whatever activity goes on on that
network?
17 answers Last reply
More about legal ramifications open wireless networks
  1. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    > person down.Bacically my question is does the person who sets up a open
    > wireless network take the fall for whatever activity goes on on that
    > network?

    Depends on their legal council! There's no law that I know of that
    states that you cannot run an open network thus the legal council should
    introduce the "is it at all possible" phrase to which the answer is "yes
    it is" and therefore there's reasonable doubt.

    Criminal law generally runs with the principle that you're innocent
    until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

    David.
  2. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "David Taylor" <djtaylor@bigfoot.com> wrote in message
    news:MPG.1d78c270272e6ccd989dad@news.cable.ntlworld.com...

    > Depends on their legal council! There's no law that I know of that

    That's right. It also depends on the level of activity. Now, if you have
    someone downloading movies all day long, everyday, then I think the open
    network is part of the problem yes.
  3. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    On 25 Aug 2005 22:58:27 -0700, kevinmader@gmail.com wrote:

    >Quite a few different places cities/coffee shops/wealthier
    >neighborhoods have open wireless networks. From my understanding the
    >RIAA and MPAA figure out who is stealing what by demanding that ISP's
    >turn over the name of the users of an IP address at a specific time.

    That's true for ISP's that keep log files. Most ISP's keep these logs
    for only as long as they need to troubleshoot customer problems and
    then vaporize them without backups. 3-4 days is typical. The log
    files are typically huge, which increases the incentive to vaporize
    them.

    Search Google for "log file retention RIAA". Where the problems
    started was when Comcast was saving their log files and the lawyers
    managed to get them to release the info. Since then, Comcast has been
    sued by its customers and revised its policies and proceedures:
    http://www.comcast.net/privacy/#information

    Incidentally, most wireless hot spots do not record logs. I have
    traffic and usage logs on some of the local systems, but nothing
    identifiable to the users.

    >If
    >someone uses a open wireless network there is no way to track down that
    >person down.

    Sure there is. I can use a direction finder to locate the open access
    point, obtain a search warrant, and ruin their day. Finding the users
    of the open access point is more difficult, but not impossible.

    >Bacically my question is does the person who sets up a open
    >wireless network take the fall for whatever activity goes on on that
    >network?

    I don't know. My guess is probably not. The rule for common carriers
    and ISP's is that if the intermediate systems do not touch the
    content, they are not responsible for the use or abuse of the content.
    Were it otherwise, the RIAA would also be able to sue the DSL
    provider, the backhaul provider, the phone company, the fiber
    bandwidth aggregator, and anyone else who's system carried the illegal
    download.


    --
    Jeff Liebermann jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
    150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
    Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
    AE6KS 831-336-2558
  4. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    This reminds me of the Lowes hardware store (down in florida i think) that
    had an open wireless network in which they had financial information going
    over (credit/debit card transactions from the cash registers)

    the guys out in the parking lot sniffing this info and using the store's
    wireless were brought up and convicted on charges.

    i'd like to see the store management brought up on charges of negligence..
    its an open network, its YOUR fault its open.


    <kevinmader@gmail.com> wrote in message
    news:1125035907.242657.155150@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > Quite a few different places cities/coffee shops/wealthier
    > neighborhoods have open wireless networks. From my understanding the
    > RIAA and MPAA figure out who is stealing what by demanding that ISP's
    > turn over the name of the users of an IP address at a specific time. If
    > someone uses a open wireless network there is no way to track down that
    > person down.Bacically my question is does the person who sets up a open
    > wireless network take the fall for whatever activity goes on on that
    > network?
    >
  5. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Jorge Padrone wrote:

    > This reminds me of the Lowes hardware store (down in florida i think) that
    > had an open wireless network in which they had financial information going
    > over (credit/debit card transactions from the cash registers)
    >
    > the guys out in the parking lot sniffing this info and using the store's
    > wireless were brought up and convicted on charges.
    >
    > i'd like to see the store management brought up on charges of negligence..
    > its an open network, its YOUR fault its open.
    >
    It's not entirely the same though - though I bet a lawyer could make a
    case :-)

    In the Lowes case, the management has a fiduciary obligation to keep that
    information private, and I'd agree they should have been charged. I'd be
    _very_ surprised if someone didn't sue them, and win, though.

    In the case of somebody making (either explicitly or accidentally) his
    wireless network available to others he may have absolutely no obligation
    to prevent it (the ISP's terms of use _may_ specify that his connection may
    not be shared - but I'm not sure the customer could be threatened with
    anything more than termination of service).
    --
    derek
  6. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    > That's right. It also depends on the level of activity. Now, if you have
    > someone downloading movies all day long, everyday, then I think the open
    > network is part of the problem yes.

    Find me a law that says the level of activity or running an open network
    is an issue.

    If the open AP is exploited then it's possible or even probable that the
    owner will be interviewed but as I said before, depending on their level
    of competency and other retrieved evidence, they may or may not be
    prosecuted which even then, may not be successful.

    David.
  7. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    > i'd like to see the store management brought up on charges of negligence..
    > its an open network, its YOUR fault its open.

    The difference there is that they have a duty of care to protect their customers data and yes they should have been held accountable.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    On Fri, 26 Aug 2005 16:49:18 GMT, David Taylor <djtaylor@bigfoot.com>
    wrote:

    >> i'd like to see the store management brought up on charges of negligence..
    >> its an open network, its YOUR fault its open.
    >
    >The difference there is that they have a duty of care to protect their customers data and yes they should have been held accountable.

    They'll just pass the blame to their IT people, who will pass the
    blame to their service company, who will pass the blame to the
    distributor, who will pass the blame to the manufacturer, who will
    claim that all such products are shipped insecure by default and it
    constitutes a defacto industry standard.


    --
    Jeff Liebermann jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
    150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
    Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
    AE6KS 831-336-2558
  9. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Jeff Liebermann wrote:

    > On Fri, 26 Aug 2005 16:49:18 GMT, David Taylor <djtaylor@bigfoot.com>
    > wrote:
    >
    >>> i'd like to see the store management brought up on charges of
    >>> negligence.. its an open network, its YOUR fault its open.
    >>
    >>The difference there is that they have a duty of care to protect their
    >>customers data and yes they should have been held accountable.
    >
    > They'll just pass the blame to their IT people, who will pass the
    > blame to their service company, who will pass the blame to the
    > distributor, who will pass the blame to the manufacturer, who will
    > claim that all such products are shipped insecure by default and it
    > constitutes a defacto industry standard.

    And they'd be right - but that still doesn't let them off the hook.
    Probably when they install a new cash register it doesn't need a password
    either - but they quickly change that.
    --
    derek
  10. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Jorge Padrone <jpadrone@hotmail.com> wrote:

    > 'd like to see the store management brought up on charges of negligence..
    > its an open network, its YOUR fault its open.

    The best response would be for MasterCard, Visa, etc to yank the right
    to accept credit cards for any store that doesn't provide adequate
    security for cardholders' information.
  11. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 05:31:01 GMT, neillmassello@earthlink.net (Neill
    Massello) wrote:

    >Jorge Padrone <jpadrone@hotmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >> 'd like to see the store management brought up on charges of negligence..
    >> its an open network, its YOUR fault its open.

    >The best response would be for MasterCard, Visa, etc to yank the right
    >to accept credit cards for any store that doesn't provide adequate
    >security for cardholders' information.

    Right. These are the same companies that consider logins using one's
    Social Security number and a 4 digit PIN number to be proper security.

    I previously posted a rant on the topic of wireless vendor negligence
    and shipping routers that are insecure by default:
    http://groups.google.com/group/uk.legal/msg/076c9924a9acbe04
    In my never humble opinion, methinks the wireless router vendors are
    just asking for problems.


    --
    # Jeff Liebermann 150 Felker St #D Santa Cruz CA 95060
    # 831.336.2558 voice http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
    # http://802.11junk.com
    # jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
    # jeffl@cruzio.com AE6KS
  12. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "David Taylor" <djtaylor@bigfoot.com> wrote in message
    news:MPG.1d78c270272e6ccd989dad@news.cable.ntlworld.com...
    | > person down.Bacically my question is does the person who sets up a open
    | > wireless network take the fall for whatever activity goes on on that
    | > network?
    |
    | Depends on their legal council! There's no law that I know of that
    | states that you cannot run an open network thus the legal council should
    | introduce the "is it at all possible" phrase to which the answer is "yes
    | it is" and therefore there's reasonable doubt.
    |
    | Criminal law generally runs with the principle that you're innocent
    | until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

    Since RIAA and MPAA are dealing with copyright issues and these are not
    typically criminal offenses (not to say they can't be) the owner of the open
    system might still be held accountable (deep pockets and all) under civil
    action. Given that the level of proof in a civil action is lower than a
    criminal action

    Not an attorney and don't play one on the internet.
  13. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    > typically criminal offenses (not to say they can't be) the owner of the open
    > system might still be held accountable (deep pockets and all) under civil
    > action. Given that the level of proof in a civil action is lower than a
    > criminal action

    Proof still doesn't mean that reasonable doubt doesn't come into it.

    > Not an attorney and don't play one on the internet.

    Likewise.
  14. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "David Taylor"

    | > typically criminal offenses (not to say they can't be) the owner of the
    open
    | > system might still be held accountable (deep pockets and all) under
    civil
    | > action. Given that the level of proof in a civil action is lower than a
    | > criminal action
    |
    | Proof still doesn't mean that reasonable doubt doesn't come into it.

    Interesting thing copyright. Once filed the court PRESUMES ownership and
    any use without permission is abuse and actionable. There are no provisions
    for reasonable doubt. Kinda like pregnancy its a step function: one is or
    one is not.

    | > Not an attorney and don't play one on the internet.
  15. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    > Interesting thing copyright. Once filed the court PRESUMES ownership and
    > any use without permission is abuse and actionable. There are no provisions

    But if it were someone hijacking the connection, there'd be no use and
    no ownership by the connection owner. :) You just can't go pointing the
    finger without any evidence whatsoever other than an IP address.

    Anyway, this is yet another one to go through the courts, until such
    time it's pointless debating the outcome.

    David.
  16. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "David Taylor"

    | > Interesting thing copyright. Once filed the court PRESUMES ownership
    and
    | > any use without permission is abuse and actionable. There are no
    provisions
    |
    | But if it were someone hijacking the connection, there'd be no use and
    | no ownership by the connection owner. :) You just can't go pointing the
    | finger without any evidence whatsoever other than an IP address.
    |
    | Anyway, this is yet another one to go through the courts, until such
    | time it's pointless debating the outcome.

    Copy right, especially under the DMCA, is a bit different as the RIAA has
    shown. If you permit/enable a violation you're as guilty as if you did it
    yourself.
  17. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    > Copy right, especially under the DMCA, is a bit different as the RIAA has
    > shown. If you permit/enable a violation you're as guilty as if you did it
    > yourself.

    Then I'd expect an instant law making open AP's illegal, going to make
    it pretty hard for hotspots and in fact ISP's to have a legal business
    for that matter.

    I'll get the popcorn...
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