Court: using open WiFi is illegal
A court in Salo, Finland has decreed that using a private, open WiFi network is illegal (Finnish). The accused had used his neighbours internet connection without permission through an open WiFi connection, and was fined.
This is a pretty interesting case - what about those who keep their WiFi open on purpose (like me)? Are we guilty of inciting a crime? Also, you don't necessarily know if a WiFi is open on purpose until you actually join it and see if you can access anything. Some operating systems also connect automatically to open networks (e.g. my WinXP is set up so that it joins whatever open network it sees), so you might be guilty of a crime made by a computer. I suppose this is the first case in the world where a piece of technology owned by you can commit a crime on its own, a crime for which you, the owner are responsible.
Of course, robots committing crimes are a regular in science fiction stories, but in a way it's cool to think that we're finally entering that age. On the other hand, this particular case is kind of dumb - you cannot apply the simplistic logic of WiFi network being private property any more than you can consider the light coming out of my windows private property. I know some people like to say that using an open WiFi is just like walking into someone's kitchen and eating all food "just because the front door was open", but this is not a valid analogy. A WiFi signal can be heard for hundreds of meters around - I could equally well argue that your WiFi signal is trespassing in the privacy of my living room.
So, this case cannot be solved through simple, false analogies (much like many things in the digital world - downloading music is not the same thing as stealing bread, thankyouverymuchforplaying), but it needs deeper understanding of the technologies and social issues involved.
The case is apparently going to a higher court, so I hope we'll see some informed discussion on this subject.
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|"Main_blogentry_150408_1" last changed on 15-Apr-2008 10:02:03 EEST by JanneJalkanen.|