Piggybacking --technical and ethical questions

Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

I live in a large apartment building. I have a PC laptop with a
wireless card. Some weeks ago, I noticed that I was connected to the
Internet via wireless signals I was picking up from one or more
neighbors. So I then had an Airport card (not Extreme) installed in
our iMac, but it doesn't work. The little radar-looking icon shows a
signal and when you click it, it shows "Verizon Wi-Fi," but the
computer will not connect to the Internet. Clicking on the Airport
icons in Utilities, I got a message that the utility had "unexpectedly
quit."

1. What are the ethics of piggybacking? Should I try to find out
whose signal I'm getting? If so, how? And what if, as I suspect, I am
getting signals from more than one neighbor?

2. Why doesn't the Airport card work? How can I get it to work?
28 answers Last reply
More about piggybacking technical ethical questions
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    In article <6fc27add.0406161233.68dee985@posting.google.com>,
    jl2109@yahoo.com (Jay) wrote:

    > I live in a large apartment building. I have a PC laptop with a
    > wireless card. Some weeks ago, I noticed that I was connected to the
    > Internet via wireless signals I was picking up from one or more
    > neighbors. So I then had an Airport card (not Extreme) installed in
    > our iMac, but it doesn't work. The little radar-looking icon shows a
    > signal and when you click it, it shows "Verizon Wi-Fi," but the
    > computer will not connect to the Internet. Clicking on the Airport
    > icons in Utilities, I got a message that the utility had "unexpectedly
    > quit."
    >
    > 1. What are the ethics of piggybacking? Should I try to find out
    > whose signal I'm getting? If so, how? And what if, as I suspect, I am
    > getting signals from more than one neighbor?

    technically, the ISP has not granted you or your neighbor permission to
    share their connection with you. At the very minimum you should get
    permission from your neighbor.

    A utility such as MacStumbler or APGrapher or KisMac
    (http://versiontracker.com/macosx) if you had a Mac laptop. I would
    suggest you find the equivalent type of signal strength program for your
    PC and then use it to find your neighbor's door with the strongest
    signal and knock. Assuming you have nice neighbors :-)

    > 2. Why doesn't the Airport card work? How can I get it to work?

    Get MacStumbler mentioned above. It gives a little additional
    information about the WiFi access point. Not much, but there is always
    a chance it will give a clue.

    If you pull down the Airport signal strength menu item, you can use it
    to open the "Internet Connect" utility (Applications -> Internet
    Connect). Try to make an Airport connection using Internet Connect. It
    might show you more information. If the connection fails, maybe it will
    give your more information to work with.

    Bob Harris
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "Jay" <jl2109@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:6fc27add.0406161233.68dee985@posting.google.com...
    > I live in a large apartment building. I have a PC laptop with a
    > wireless card. Some weeks ago, I noticed that I was connected to the
    > Internet via wireless signals I was picking up from one or more
    > neighbors. So I then had an Airport card (not Extreme) installed in
    > our iMac, but it doesn't work. The little radar-looking icon shows a
    > signal and when you click it, it shows "Verizon Wi-Fi," but the
    > computer will not connect to the Internet. Clicking on the Airport
    > icons in Utilities, I got a message that the utility had "unexpectedly
    > quit."
    >
    > 1. What are the ethics of piggybacking? Should I try to find out
    > whose signal I'm getting? If so, how? And what if, as I suspect, I am
    > getting signals from more than one neighbor?
    >

    If you need to ask about the ethics, then you are not interested in the
    answer.
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Entity Jay spoke thus:

    > 1. What are the ethics of piggybacking?

    I have an open access point in a dense neighborhood. I don't care who uses
    the service as long as it's used not abused.


    -- Gnarlie
    http://www.Gnarlodious.com/
  4. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Gnarlodious <gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com> wrote in
    news:BCF65ECB.4D9E1%gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com:

    > Entity Jay spoke thus:
    >
    >> 1. What are the ethics of piggybacking?
    >
    > I have an open access point in a dense neighborhood. I don't care who
    > uses the service as long as it's used not abused.


    Does Earthlink allow you to run an open AP off your connection? I wish my
    ISP would let me do that.


    --
    Lucas Tam (REMOVEnntp@rogers.com)
    Please delete "REMOVE" from the e-mail address when replying.
    http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/coolspot18/
  5. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    In article <BCF68B91.4D9C4%gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com>,
    Gnarlodious <gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com> wrote:

    > > I wish my ISP would let me do that.
    > How are they going to know?

    same way rental car companies know if you drove the car out of state or
    it is driven by someone not listed on the contract. unless something
    goes wrong (and there is no gps tracker installed), they won't know.

    same with an isp - if usage patterns are 'normal' and nothing bad
    happens, they won't know and likely not care.

    however, if someone uses your account for illicit purposes or bandwidth
    demands are significantly higher than normal then they might notice.
  6. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Lucas Tam <REMOVEnntp@rogers.com> wrote:

    > Does Earthlink allow you to run an open AP off your connection?

    "You and members of your household or business, if you have purchased a
    business account, are the only authorized users of your EarthLink
    account and must comply with this Agreement."
    <http://www.earthlink.net/about/policies/dial/>
  7. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Jay <jl2109@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > 1. What are the ethics of piggybacking?

    You're getting commercial service without paying for it. What do you
    suppose the ethics of that are?

    --
    Mike Rosenberg
    <http://www.macconsult.com> Macintosh consulting services for NE Florida
    <http://bogart-tribute.net> Tribute to Humphrey Bogart
    Toyota Prius fans: Check out alt.autos.toyota.prius
  8. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    mike@POSTTOGROUP.invalid (Mike Rosenberg) wrote in
    news:1gfilcr.1bqmjwx481a2yN%mike@POSTTOGROUP.invalid:

    > Jay <jl2109@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    >> 1. What are the ethics of piggybacking?
    >
    > You're getting commercial service without paying for it. What do you
    > suppose the ethics of that are?

    That's one way of looking at it. Another way is that he's merely accessing
    the airwaves above his own property. This is why there are no clear laws
    regarding the matter. Yet. Electric companies got it arranged so you
    can't have a big copper coil taking electricity from the wires
    above/nearby...but then again that could be considered an 'easement'. I
    doubt one could get an easement for a radio signal.

    --
    Minister of All Things Digital & Electronic, and Holder of Past Knowledge
    stile99@email.com. Cabal# 24601-fnord | Sleep is irrelevant.
    I speak for no one but myself, and |Caffeine will be assimilated.
    no one else speaks for me. O- | Decaf is futile.
  9. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Howard <stile99@email.com.> wrote:

    > That's one way of looking at it. Another way is that he's merely
    > accessing the airwaves above his own property.

    True, but looking at it from the ISP's vantage point, they're selling
    their service to one household, and that household is then broadcasting
    it.

    --
    Mike Rosenberg
    <http://www.macconsult.com> Macintosh consulting services for NE Florida
    <http://bogart-tribute.net> Tribute to Humphrey Bogart
    Toyota Prius fans: Check out alt.autos.toyota.prius
  10. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    mike@POSTTOGROUP.invalid (Mike Rosenberg) wrote in
    news:1gfjgtn.1x2ma0t1mnwk7mN%mike@POSTTOGROUP.invalid:

    > Howard <stile99@email.com.> wrote:
    >
    >> That's one way of looking at it. Another way is that he's merely
    >> accessing the airwaves above his own property.
    >
    > True, but looking at it from the ISP's vantage point, they're selling
    > their service to one household, and that household is then broadcasting
    > it.

    However, at that point it becomes an issue between the ISP and the customer
    who is broadcasting it unsecurely. The ISP would have far far more luck
    pursuing the customer than the neighbor.

    --
    Minister of All Things Digital & Electronic, and Holder of Past Knowledge
    stile99@email.com. Cabal# 24601-fnord | Sleep is irrelevant.
    I speak for no one but myself, and |Caffeine will be assimilated.
    no one else speaks for me. O- | Decaf is futile.
  11. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    In article <Xns950C887D6EB8stile@129.250.170.82>,
    Howard <stile99@email.com.> wrote:

    > mike@POSTTOGROUP.invalid (Mike Rosenberg) wrote in
    > news:1gfjgtn.1x2ma0t1mnwk7mN%mike@POSTTOGROUP.invalid:
    >
    > > Howard <stile99@email.com.> wrote:
    > >
    > >> That's one way of looking at it. Another way is that he's merely
    > >> accessing the airwaves above his own property.
    > >
    > > True, but looking at it from the ISP's vantage point, they're selling
    > > their service to one household, and that household is then broadcasting
    > > it.
    >
    > However, at that point it becomes an issue between the ISP and the customer
    > who is broadcasting it unsecurely. The ISP would have far far more luck
    > pursuing the customer than the neighbor.

    I wonder if this might be treated by the law analogously to a neighbor
    making an illegal cable TV hookup, by splicing into the neighbor's cable
    without them knowing about it. Most cable modem TOS's say that you
    can't redistribute the service to others, but do they say that you have
    to take measures to *prevent* others from using the service without your
    knowledge or consent?

    --
    Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
    Arlington, MA
    *** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
  12. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Howard <stile99@email.com.> wrote:

    > However, at that point it becomes an issue between the ISP and the
    > customer who is broadcasting it unsecurely. The ISP would have far far
    > more luck pursuing the customer than the neighbor.

    That's true. This is quite different than, say, illegally receiving
    satellite signals, where you have to buy equipment to do so. And, of
    course, in most cases, the people broadcasting WiFi signals to the
    immediate neighborhood are unaware they're doing that. In fact, I'm
    sure many of them would be quite horrified to know it's happening.

    And yet, I think that someone who knows he's latching onto his
    neighbor's signal should also know it's wrong.

    --
    Mike Rosenberg
    <http://www.macconsult.com> Macintosh consulting services for NE Florida
    <http://bogart-tribute.net> Tribute to Humphrey Bogart
    Toyota Prius fans: Check out alt.autos.toyota.prius
  13. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Taking a moment's reflection, Barry Margolin mused:
    |
    | I wonder if this might be treated by the law analogously to a neighbor
    | making an illegal cable TV hookup, by splicing into the neighbor's cable
    | without them knowing about it.

    To fit here, it would be more like a neighbour splicing his cable TV
    line, and running an outlet to your apartment (knowingly or unknowingly).
    Even still, it is *your* choice on whether you hook it up or not.
  14. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Entity Mike Rosenberg spoke thus:

    > in most cases, the people broadcasting WiFi signals to the
    > immediate neighborhood are unaware they're doing that. In fact, I'm
    > sure many of them would be quite horrified to know it's happening.
    So, by default all wireless routers should be delivered with WEP enabed?
    Sounds good to me. As I stumble around I see hundreds of AP's with names
    like "Netgear", or "Apple network jy4602".
    Punishment for plug-n- play.

    > And yet, I think that someone who knows he's latching onto his
    > neighbor's signal should also know it's wrong.
    As an amateur radio operator I would dispute that assumption. Waves is waves
    is waves.
    I do however, spot check who is using the AP. Everyone should.

    -- Gnarlie
    Currently broadcasting from
    N35:40:06/W105:57:51
  15. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    In article <BCF86180.4DCA3%gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com>,
    Gnarlodious <gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com> wrote:

    > > And yet, I think that someone who knows he's latching onto his
    > > neighbor's signal should also know it's wrong.
    >
    > As an amateur radio operator I would dispute that assumption. Waves
    > is waves is waves.

    Um, as an amateur radio operator, you receive waves that were designed
    for anyone and everyone to receive. That is not necessarily true with
    WiFi.

    --
    Stop Mad Cowboy Disease: Vote for John Kerry.
  16. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    In article <michelle-577D00.12371318062004@news.west.cox.net>, Michelle
    Steiner <michelle@michelle.org> wrote:

    > In article <BCF86180.4DCA3%gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com>,
    > Gnarlodious <gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    > > > And yet, I think that someone who knows he's latching onto his
    > > > neighbor's signal should also know it's wrong.
    > >
    > > As an amateur radio operator I would dispute that assumption. Waves
    > > is waves is waves.
    >
    > Um, as an amateur radio operator, you receive waves that were designed
    > for anyone and everyone to receive. That is not necessarily true with
    > WiFi.

    there are encrypted amateur radio signals which are not intended for
    anyone and everyone to receive.

    if you want to prevent unintended users from using a 802.11 base
    station, then encrypt the signal.

    if you don't want someone using it, don't send it to them. if a signal
    enters their property and even their body, why can't they use it?

    if essentially no effort is required to do so (for instance, a normal
    configuration is for the computer to automatically lock onto a wireless
    signal), what evidence do they have that it *isn't* a public network?

    it is the same concept as if you don't want people nearby to hear what
    you are saying, don't shout.
  17. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 10:08:19 -0500, Gnarlodious wrote
    (in article <BCF86180.4DCA3%gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com>):

    > As an amateur radio operator I would dispute that assumption. Waves is waves
    > is waves.

    But the "owner" is also paying for the connection to the internet. At the
    very least the person "freeloading" should offer to split the connection
    bill.

    -- James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
  18. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    In article <0001HW.BCF886A100064F6CF03055B0@news.prodigy.net>,
    James L. Ryan <taliesinsoft@mac.com> wrote:

    > On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 10:08:19 -0500, Gnarlodious wrote
    > (in article <BCF86180.4DCA3%gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com>):
    >
    > > As an amateur radio operator I would dispute that assumption. Waves is waves
    > > is waves.
    >
    > But the "owner" is also paying for the connection to the internet. At the
    > very least the person "freeloading" should offer to split the connection
    > bill.

    Most TOS specifically prohibit reselling the service, and this would
    almost certainly count.

    --
    Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
    Arlington, MA
    *** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
  19. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Entity nospam spoke thus:

    > there are encrypted amateur radio signals which are not intended for
    > anyone and everyone to receive.
    Wrong. Encryption of Amateur signals is not allowed. You are allowed
    encoding and decoding according to standard schemes but not encryption.

    > it is the same concept as if you don't want people nearby to hear what
    > you are saying, don't shout.
    Good point. Remember that guy a few years ago that got prosecuted for
    cursing in a boat on a lake? Guess he should have encrypted his expletives.


    -- K5ZN
    http://www.qsl.net/k5zn/
  20. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 15:56:29 -0500, Barry Margolin wrote
    (in article <barmar-8A9403.16562918062004@comcast.dca.giganews.com>):

    [responding to my suggestion that the person "borrowing" his neighbors
    connection should split the cost]

    > Most TOS specifically prohibit reselling the service, and this would almost
    > certainly count.

    Good point, but how does this apply to different users in the same household
    sharing the same connection?

    -- James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft
  21. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    In article <0001HW.BCF912FA0010257EF03055B0@news.prodigy.net>,
    James L. Ryan <taliesinsoft@mac.com> wrote:

    > On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 15:56:29 -0500, Barry Margolin wrote
    > (in article <barmar-8A9403.16562918062004@comcast.dca.giganews.com>):
    >
    > [responding to my suggestion that the person "borrowing" his neighbors
    > connection should split the cost]
    >
    > > Most TOS specifically prohibit reselling the service, and this would almost
    > > certainly count.
    >
    > Good point, but how does this apply to different users in the same household
    > sharing the same connection?

    They're generally considered to be one customer, just like people in the
    same household sharing a cable TV connection. The prohibition is
    usually to selling to third parties, which means someone not living with
    you.

    --
    Barry Margolin, barmar@alum.mit.edu
    Arlington, MA
    *** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
  22. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Entity James L. Ryan spoke thus:

    >> Most TOS specifically prohibit reselling the service, and this would almost
    >> certainly count.
    >
    > Good point, but how does this apply to different users in the same household
    > sharing the same connection?
    I'm not too sure. Earthlink offers an optional "home networking" package
    with ADSL that includes a wireless router. To my knowledge it is unsecured
    by default.
    I find it hard to believe ISP's are encouraging customers to violate their
    TOS.

    -- Gnarlie
  23. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Gnarlodious <gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com> wrote in
    news:BCF930E0.4DDBB%gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com:

    > I'm not too sure. Earthlink offers an optional "home networking" package
    > with ADSL that includes a wireless router. To my knowledge it is
    > unsecured by default.
    > I find it hard to believe ISP's are encouraging customers to violate
    > their TOS.

    Actually, in this situation, ISPs can only turn to themselves if someone
    hitchhikes on the wireless connection. Some twit in a suit thought it
    would be a good idea to charge a monthly fee to maintain a network, without
    considering that that would mean *they have to maintain the network*. This
    includes securing it. I have my own home network. I built it, I'm
    responsible for it. Those who have accepted the cable/satellite/whatever
    company's offer to set up and maintain a home network for it are NOT
    responsible if someone else comes along and leeches off of them, for the
    simple reason that it is not the CUSTOMER'S network they are leeching off
    of.

    --
    Minister of All Things Digital & Electronic, and Holder of Past Knowledge
    stile99@email.com. Cabal# 24601-fnord | Sleep is irrelevant.
    I speak for no one but myself, and |Caffeine will be assimilated.
    no one else speaks for me. O- | Decaf is futile.
  24. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    nospam <nospam@nospam.invalid> wrote:

    Michelle Steiner <michelle@michelle.org> wrote:
    >
    > > Um, as an amateur radio operator, you receive waves that were designed
    > > for anyone and everyone to receive. That is not necessarily true with
    > > WiFi.
    >
    > there are encrypted amateur radio signals which are not intended for
    > anyone and everyone to receive.

    Really? When I studied for my ham license 30-odd years ago, encryption
    was a no-no. Have the rules changed that much since then?
  25. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    James L. Ryan wrote:

    > On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 10:08:19 -0500, Gnarlodious wrote
    > (in article <BCF86180.4DCA3%gnarlodiousNULL@VOID.invalid.yahoo.com>):
    >
    >> As an amateur radio operator I would dispute that assumption. Waves is
    >> waves is waves.
    >
    > But the "owner" is also paying for the connection to the internet.

    That is correct, James.

    What you have to remember, though, is that there is very little ethics in
    the world today. Take a close look at governments and businesses of today
    to see an ethicless scenario outplaying in full force.
  26. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Hi,

    I had someone come to me with a unique airport problem on his titanium G4
    laptop. He uses his laptop wireless interchangeably at work and home. So,
    he has his laptop configured to the "Automatic" recognition of wireless
    networks. Sometime back, he detected another wireless network at home (a
    neighbor's) and out of curiosity (to see if the network is password
    protected or not), he decided to join it. Sure enough, no passwd
    protection.

    Now his problem is that at home, the airport software automatically
    detects the neighbor's network and logs in there. He has to manually
    disconnect and reconnect to his own home network. He would want airport to
    "unrecognize" the neighbor's network, so that he can go back to the old
    setup. I looked online and I cannot seem to find the solution.

    Has anyone come across this problem? Is there a solution to this?

    Thanks.

    K.
  27. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    First of all make that user to use two different profiles for home and work.
    In the home profile make him use *preferred* network or AP, this should take
    care of his problem.

    "Kishalay Kundu" <kish1@gl.umbc.edu> wrote in message
    news:Pine.LNX.4.58L6.0407011622550.30338@linux2.gl.umbc.edu...
    > Hi,
    >
    > I had someone come to me with a unique airport problem on his titanium G4
    > laptop. He uses his laptop wireless interchangeably at work and home. So,
    > he has his laptop configured to the "Automatic" recognition of wireless
    > networks. Sometime back, he detected another wireless network at home (a
    > neighbor's) and out of curiosity (to see if the network is password
    > protected or not), he decided to join it. Sure enough, no passwd
    > protection.
    >
    > Now his problem is that at home, the airport software automatically
    > detects the neighbor's network and logs in there. He has to manually
    > disconnect and reconnect to his own home network. He would want airport to
    > "unrecognize" the neighbor's network, so that he can go back to the old
    > setup. I looked online and I cannot seem to find the solution.
    >
    > Has anyone come across this problem? Is there a solution to this?
    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > K.
  28. Archived from groups: comp.sys.mac.comm,alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    Kishalay Kundu <kish1@gl.umbc.edu> wrote in
    news:Pine.LNX.4.58L6.0407011622550.30338@linux2.gl.umbc.edu:

    > Hi,
    >
    > I had someone come to me with a unique airport problem on his titanium
    > G4 laptop. He uses his laptop wireless interchangeably at work and home.
    > So, he has his laptop configured to the "Automatic" recognition of
    > wireless networks. Sometime back, he detected another wireless network
    > at home (a neighbor's) and out of curiosity (to see if the network is
    > password protected or not), he decided to join it. Sure enough, no
    > passwd protection.
    >
    > Now his problem is that at home, the airport software automatically
    > detects the neighbor's network and logs in there. He has to manually
    > disconnect and reconnect to his own home network. He would want airport
    > to "unrecognize" the neighbor's network, so that he can go back to the
    > old setup. I looked online and I cannot seem to find the solution.
    >
    > Has anyone come across this problem? Is there a solution to this?

    On real computers, you can tell it a specific network to connect to, or
    tell it a specific network NOT to connect to. Don't know about macs.

    --
    Minister of All Things Digital & Electronic, and Holder of Past Knowledge
    stile99@email.com. Cabal# 24601-fnord | Sleep is irrelevant.
    I speak for no one but myself, and |Caffeine will be assimilated.
    no one else speaks for me. O- | Decaf is futile.
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