wireless hotspots legal

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

I had an argument with a friend and he was saying that people setting up APs
and sharing internet is wrong. I told him about seatle wireless but i didnt
have enough info to defend seatle wireless. Sharing your internet connection
with others is illegal right? Any info would be great Thanks RadarG
9 answers Last reply
More about wireless hotspots legal
  1. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 11:29:18 -0400, "RadarG" <justinnkim@cox.net>
    wrote:

    >I had an argument with a friend and he was saying that people setting up APs
    >and sharing internet is wrong. I told him about seatle wireless but i didnt
    >have enough info to defend seatle wireless. Sharing your internet connection
    >with others is illegal right? Any info would be great Thanks RadarG

    The short answer is that it depends upon your contract with your
    backhaul ISP. Some ISP's strictly prohibit sharing (i.e. Comcast)
    while others encourage it as a means of getting new business. Of
    course, there are variations in between. Read your ISP's TOS (terms
    of service) and see what it says.

    As for the word "illegal", it doesn't apply. There are no local,
    state, or federal laws prohibiting sharing. Now would a person
    setting up a hot spot be considered a criminal in any manner. It's a
    contractual issue with the backhaul ISP and at worst would result in
    termination of service or a huge bill based upon excessive traffic.
    Of course, this assumes that the wireless hotspot owner knowingly
    offers shared bandwidth as doing so by hacking is possibly a form of
    "theft of service". Only the contract, TOS, and AUP (acceptable use
    policy) know for sure.


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

    We have this debate periodically. Often the thread reaches three or four
    dozen entries before everyone gets tired. We can all offer opinions, but few
    black-and-white truths.

    FWIW, here's my opinion. The service agreements for standard home cable and
    ADSL almost always explicitly state that the service is *only* for the use
    of the subscriber and the subscriber's immediate family. That's usually
    interpreted to mean that if friends or relatives visit, they can use it too.
    But it's very clear that the cable/ADSL ISPs do not want home subscribers
    reselling or otherwise doling out their service as second-level ISPs. The
    agreements almost always provide that the ISP can terminate service without
    giving a reason, and if you are generating too much activity (or someone is
    using your site for spam, kiddie porn, or other nefarious hacking), you will
    be terminated. You might also be prosecuted if someone else's criminal
    activity was involved, although there is no lack of people who would argue
    with me on that. Also, providing open access to your cable/ADSL without
    agreement from the ISP is - in my opinion - theft of service. But you will
    never be prosecuted for that. If the ISP does not like what goes on with
    your connection, you will simply be terminated.

    There are plenty of legal free hotspots, at least in some cities. I work
    with a group that installs and maintains such hotspots in my city. We
    recommend business-class cable and ADSL connections, and although the
    service agreements do not explicitly recognize open wifi hotspots as a
    legitimate use, for each installation we make sure the ISP understands
    exactly how it will be used, and the use is blessed. It is getting them
    business they would not otherwise have. On the other hand, every time
    someone lets a neighbor piggyback on a home connection, that is business
    they have lost.

    "RadarG" <justinnkim@cox.net> wrote in message
    news:irCCc.2834$CR3.429@lakeread03...
    > I had an argument with a friend and he was saying that people setting up
    APs
    > and sharing internet is wrong. I told him about seatle wireless but i
    didnt
    > have enough info to defend seatle wireless. Sharing your internet
    connection
    > with others is illegal right? Any info would be great Thanks RadarG
    >
    >
  3. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "RadarG" <justinnkim@cox.net> wrote in
    news:irCCc.2834$CR3.429@lakeread03:

    > I had an argument with a friend and he was saying that people setting
    > up APs and sharing internet is wrong.

    Depends on the user ISP access agreement. If the user is on a residential
    plan it's most likely illegal as most residential contracts prohibit
    sharing of services outside a household, running of servers, etc.

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

    you use the word "illegal" in the wrong sense - illegal means against the
    law NOT against the terms of service.


    "Lucas Tam" <REMOVEnntp@rogers.com> wrote in message
    news:Xns951292E3134E8nntprogerscom@140.99.99.130...
    > "RadarG" <justinnkim@cox.net> wrote in
    > news:irCCc.2834$CR3.429@lakeread03:
    >
    > > I had an argument with a friend and he was saying that people setting
    > > up APs and sharing internet is wrong.
    >
    > Depends on the user ISP access agreement. If the user is on a residential
    > plan it's most likely illegal as most residential contracts prohibit
    > sharing of services outside a household, running of servers, etc.
    >
    > --
    > 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: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "Munroe" <syug@netmail.org> wrote in news:2k21b0F16qf26U1@uni-berlin.de:

    > you use the word "illegal" in the wrong sense - illegal means against the
    > law NOT against the terms of service.

    It is a theft of service. And it is sort of against the law to break
    contracts.

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

    In article <Xns951383A6FAAD7nntprogerscom@140.99.99.130>,
    Lucas Tam <REMOVEnntp@rogers.com> wrote:
    :"Munroe" <syug@netmail.org> wrote in news:2k21b0F16qf26U1@uni-berlin.de:

    :> you use the word "illegal" in the wrong sense - illegal means against the
    :> law NOT against the terms of service.

    :It is a theft of service. And it is sort of against the law to break
    :contracts.

    "sort of" isn't meaningful in law. It either is or it isn't.

    If one breaks a contract, then the other party is entitled to enact
    any transgression penalties listed in the contract (provided they are
    within the realm of penalties that the courts have deemed reasonable --
    for example, one cannot sell oneself to slavery in the USA.) The
    legal infrastructure from sherrifs on upwards will assist in the
    application of the penalties upon the presentation of appropriate
    documentation -- for example, will help seize a car or will bring a baliff
    to seize goods. Furthermore, the offended party can [most of the time] sue
    in court for damages, including heavy monetary damages, and if the
    law and evidence supports their case, then courts can enter enforcable
    judgements.

    However, unless the contract has to do with official secrets or unless
    there is fairly specialized legislation that is applicable, then
    the limit of the penalties are monetary (and seizure of assets). If one
    doesn't "lip off to the judge" and so garner a "contempt of court"
    citation, one cannot go to jail or get a criminal record for breaching
    a contract.

    Thus, except for specialized contracts (e.g., military enlistment), breaching
    a contract is NOT illegal [in democracies, anyhow]. The civil penalties
    for breaching contract can be pretty harsh, though...
    --
    Those were borogoves and the momerathsoutgrabe completely mimsy.
  7. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    "Walter Roberson" <roberson@ibd.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca> wrote in message
    news:cbi67g$qcu$1@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca...
    > In article <Xns951383A6FAAD7nntprogerscom@140.99.99.130>,
    > Lucas Tam <REMOVEnntp@rogers.com> wrote:
    > :"Munroe" <syug@netmail.org> wrote in news:2k21b0F16qf26U1@uni-berlin.de:
    >
    > :> you use the word "illegal" in the wrong sense - illegal means against
    the
    > :> law NOT against the terms of service.
    >
    > :It is a theft of service. And it is sort of against the law to break
    > :contracts.
    >
    > "sort of" isn't meaningful in law. It either is or it isn't.

    If someone leaves a wifi network wide open, and someone else knowingly
    associates to that network and uses the ISP's services without the ISP's
    agreement or knowledge, then there are two parties afoul of the law.

    The owner of the network is certainly violating his contract, whether he is
    aware he is doing it or not. The third party piggybacking onto the network
    *may be* committing theft of service, which is a matter of criminal, not
    contract, law. If the owner of the network is reselling the ISP's services,
    or simply knowingly making them available for general use, he *may be
    *committing theft of service, in addition to violating a contract.

    I liberally spice the preceding with "may be" because we all know from
    experience that we are capable of debating this until we wear the labels off
    our keys, without reaching any consensus. It will take a specific example of
    a successful prosecution to resolve it, and I have ample faith that someone
    will still insist that the judge's fingers were crossed. In my own mind, I
    replace "may be" with "is".

    I don't expect a prosecution anytime soon, because it is far cheaper for an
    ISP to just turn off your connection if it's abused. No muss, no fuss, no
    legal fees.

    >
    > If one breaks a contract, then the other party is entitled to enact
    > any transgression penalties listed in the contract (provided they are
    > within the realm of penalties that the courts have deemed reasonable --
    > for example, one cannot sell oneself to slavery in the USA.) The
    > legal infrastructure from sherrifs on upwards will assist in the
    > application of the penalties upon the presentation of appropriate
    > documentation -- for example, will help seize a car or will bring a baliff
    > to seize goods. Furthermore, the offended party can [most of the time] sue
    > in court for damages, including heavy monetary damages, and if the
    > law and evidence supports their case, then courts can enter enforcable
    > judgements.
    >
    > However, unless the contract has to do with official secrets or unless
    > there is fairly specialized legislation that is applicable, then
    > the limit of the penalties are monetary (and seizure of assets). If one
    > doesn't "lip off to the judge" and so garner a "contempt of court"
    > citation, one cannot go to jail or get a criminal record for breaching
    > a contract.
    >
    > Thus, except for specialized contracts (e.g., military enlistment),
    breaching
    > a contract is NOT illegal [in democracies, anyhow]. The civil penalties
    > for breaching contract can be pretty harsh, though...
    > --
    > Those were borogoves and the momerathsoutgrabe completely mimsy.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    > "sort of" isn't meaningful in law. It either is or it isn't.

    If only law was that black and white. It isn't. Let me provide a
    simple example though not technology related.

    The markings defining parking restrictions here are laid down by the
    Department for Transport, they don't enforce the law.

    Councils interpret the regulations as laid down and paint the lines
    according to their understanding. Councils can cover the county or the
    district.

    Traffic enforcement staff (either police, traffic wardends or agents
    employed by the council) write tickets.

    You then challeng the ticket on the basis that the line is wrongly
    painted.

    You'd think that the line is either right or it's wrong.

    It's the judge that determines whether and offence was committed.

    David.
    (Yes i've had a ticket cancelled on a technicallity and yes I tried to
    ask the Department for Transport for clarification that surely it's
    either right or it's wrong - couldn't get that answer, they only make up
    the definitions, everyone else just interprets them.)
  9. Archived from groups: alt.internet.wireless (More info?)

    In article <kB3Dc.2967$q24.1800@newssvr23.news.prodigy.com>,
    gary <pleasenospam@sbcglobal.net> wrote:

    :"Walter Roberson" <roberson@ibd.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca> wrote in message
    :news:cbi67g$qcu$1@canopus.cc.umanitoba.ca...

    :> "sort of" isn't meaningful in law. It either is or it isn't.

    :If someone leaves a wifi network wide open, and someone else knowingly
    :associates to that network and uses the ISP's services without the ISP's
    :agreement or knowledge, then there are two parties afoul of the law.

    :The owner of the network is certainly violating his contract, whether he is
    :aware he is doing it or not. The third party piggybacking onto the network
    :*may be* committing theft of service, which is a matter of criminal, not
    :contract, law.

    No-where in my posting did I say that it was impossible to use a
    wireless network to break a criminal law. My posting said that
    breaking a contract is [except in certain restricted situations] a
    *civil* law matter, not a *criminal* law matter. Penalties in civil
    law can be pretty strong (e.g., divorce settlements can last for
    decades), so I am not by any means saying "Oh, go ahead and do it,
    you know you want to!!": I am saying that breaching a contract is
    not "illegal" in the sense that most people think of "illegal" meaning.


    :If the owner of the network is reselling the ISP's services,
    :or simply knowingly making them available for general use, he *may be
    :*committing theft of service, in addition to violating a contract.

    Well, it could be that a judge would rule that, but unless the
    network owner found a way to exceed network usage limits beyond what
    the owner could theoretically have used himself or herself, then
    any good defence would, it is my belief, be able to get them off
    the "theft" charge. "Theft of service" requires the obtaining of
    services that one as no authorization for, or beyond the limit that
    one was authorized for; if the owner made no move to interfere with
    any caps or limiting settings that the company had put in place, then
    I really don't think you could get a "theft of service" charge to stick.

    However, if the contract is restrictive about who the customer may
    allow to use the equipment, then there is a lot of precident in law
    for damages for breach of contract... a civil matter.

    But I'm not a judge, and there are a lot of different jurisdictions around
    the world, so I wouldn't say that getting a criminal conviction in
    such a case would be impossible. It seems -unlikely- to me.


    :I liberally spice the preceding with "may be" because we all know from
    :experience that we are capable of debating this until we wear the labels off
    :our keys, without reaching any consensus. It will take a specific example of
    :a successful prosecution to resolve it, and I have ample faith that someone
    :will still insist that the judge's fingers were crossed.

    Or we could end up with a case such as the one earlier this year in
    which a judge in Canada ruled against the recording inddustry going
    after music downloaders. All the headlines were about how supposedly
    the judge had ruled the downloading music was legal in Canada. But if
    you dug a little further into the story, it turns out that the judge
    issued a long detailed decision that essentially said "The industry
    was so sloppy about this whole case that finding the defendants guilty
    would require severely trampling their rights. Now, here's what you
    *should* have done to nail the downloaders to the wall. If you'd done
    things -properly-, I wouldn't have had any problem convicting!"
    --
    Feep if you love VT-52's.
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