Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

wireless hotspots legal

Last response: in Wireless Networking
Share
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
June 24, 2004 3:29:18 PM

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
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
June 24, 2004 3:29:19 PM

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
June 24, 2004 8:01:53 PM

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
>
>
Related resources
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
June 24, 2004 10:26:24 PM

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/
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
June 25, 2004 7:08:10 PM

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/
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
June 25, 2004 8:56:32 PM

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/
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
June 26, 2004 1:42:08 AM

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.
June 26, 2004 4:39:44 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
June 27, 2004 2:22:18 AM

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.)
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
June 27, 2004 7:08:43 PM

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,
:o r 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
:o ur 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.
!