08/07/2005

Wireless: NewsFactor Network - - Man Charged with Using Somebody Else's Wi-Fi

Wireless: NewsFactor Network - - Man Charged with Using Somebody Else's Wi-Fi

It's suprising this hasn't happened earlier.

In the UK there are at least 2 laws which can be broken by unauthorised use of someone Wireless LAN (WLAN) or WiFi network.

The Computer Misuse Act can be used to prosecute as the perpertrator doesn;t have specfic authorisation to utilise resources on the WiFi network (or beyond). Resource is used just because the access point is having to process their connection.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act covers unlawfull intercept of data, and any client connecting to a WiFi network has to decode beacon packets. Again if access isn't authorised the connecting user is potentiially illegally intercepting data.

The Police would need to have a pretty strong case against someone (at least in the UK) as computer expertise is severely limited in the forces and the resulting prosecution would not be trated as a high priority (unless access was gained for some other unlawfull purpose). Unfortunately a lot of this type of activity is probably just ignored as the police resources are much better spent catchng criminals where the payoffs are greater (sic) i.e. catch a WiFi user or catch someone trying to break into a bank. The Police have to decide which has a monetary better result for them.
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