General Question

joshisradd's avatar

Is it illegal to use someones wireless Internet without permission?

Asked by joshisradd (238 points ) March 2nd, 2008 from iPhone

Can they do anything about it if their Internet is not locked?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

cake7's avatar

illegal probably not, but i really don’t know. i’ve used internet that wasn’t mine. usually people who really don’t want you to use their internet lock their connection. i wouldn’t suggest doing any banking on an internet connection that isn’t yours.

squirbel's avatar

There are groups still deciding whether or not it is illegal in the US.

I believe it is not.

DorkmanScott's avatar

Whether they can do anything about it, and whether it is illegal, are two different questions.

The answer to the question on this post is that yes, it is considered illegal. Since they are paying for the internet service, and you are not, to use their internet connection without their permission is, in effect, theft of something they have purchased.

As to whether or not they can do anything about it, for one thing they can put a password on it. I have heard stories of people being caught and fined for using someone else’s wireless connection (one particularly absurd case was a man who sat in his truck outside of a cafe which offered free wireless anyway; it was not the cafe owner who pressed charges, either), but I do not know how they go about tracking someone down.

squirbel's avatar

The use of open wireless Internet connections is not illegal in the US. You can, however, argue that it is unethical.

DorkmanScott's avatar

Ah, well said. I will retract my saying that it is “considered illegal”, as I do not have a basis for that, other than that, as you said, a certain contingency are trying to argue that it is.

allen_o's avatar

I’m doing it right now, haha

timealker101's avatar

in the uk it’s an offence that carries up to five years’ imprisonment.

fortris's avatar

There is no law against using soneones elses wireless Internet. It is completely their fault for not having a wep key.

vandykenf3's avatar

I know this is still up in the air, but I remember hearing something on a local news station about this. If I remember correctly, I think someone was being sued over this issue.

I am trying to find the article I read, It was pretty good.

squirbel's avatar

That is correct. There are numerous cases around the country where people have been sued, arrested, and had their computers confiscated. But most were freed. The consensus at this time is that the wireless routers come with instructions and install wizards to help lock the network. If you bypass these options, it is essentially open without consequence.

fortris's avatar

I have noticed a lot of people are saying its illegal, trust me, it isn’t, i know a policeman and he says it is not, in anyway against the law.

g33s0n6656's avatar

I would be too embarrassed to stand up in court and say in front if everyone, yes, I am too ignorant to lock my connection up but I still want to press charges against you for using my connection w/o my permission. I could see if someone hacked your security…

vandykenf3's avatar

I agree… If you can’t run a secure network, you should be ready for people to “borrow” your signal.

Just like someone who always is leaving their keys in their car, and end up having their car stolen. It is illegal for someone to take it, but the owner of the car should be the one slapped for being too dumb/lazy to take the keys out.

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