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Man Arrested for Wireless Piggybacking 925

Posted by timothy
from the potted-coffee-puns dept.
Sommelier writes "As reported by KATU in Portland, Oregon, a man was arrested for parking outside a coffee shop in nearby Vancouver, Washington, and using their open wireless AP — for three straight months. '"He doesn't buy anything," Manager Emily Pranger says about the man she ended up calling 911 about. "It's not right for him to come and use it."' Turns out the guy was a registered sex-offender as well." A different computer expert might have pointed out some ways to see if anyone is piggybacking on a wireless signal (many APs have a Web-interface client list), or even suggested something like NoCatAuth.
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Man Arrested for Wireless Piggybacking

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:08AM (#15581680) Homepage Journal
    Thats a long time to browse the web for.
    I wonder how he managed it.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:13AM (#15581711)
      Did it with one hand probably.
    • "Turns out the guy was a registered sex-offender as well."

      Now thats just sad. You get busted for piggybacking. Then they find out that you are a sex offender.

      JACKPOT for them!
      • by stecoop (759508) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:22AM (#15581775) Journal
        I believe your going in left field with this one. There isn't a TOS for wireless access. If you don't want someone to use it then you have to keep the radio waves out of his property. He was pretty much using the service that was trespassing on public property. It stinks that he is a sex offender because he'll be setting precedence in court by being convicted leaving the door open for other to be convicted on some charge like this. No, it isn't thinking of the children; it is just another freedom being infiltrated because I let my wireless network be used by anyone and many others do the same. Soon this might be illegal thanks to the shop.
        • by biglig2 (89374) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:29AM (#15581824) Homepage Journal
          Reading the article, doesn't look like there is a charge; they've just arrested him, and now are trying to figure out if he broke any laws. I'm not sure that it's meant to work that way....
          • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:37AM (#15581885)
            Easy, he's guilty of being arrested.
          • by orim (583920) <orimk AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:03AM (#15582106)
            They can cuff you any time they please, as far as I understand even for just looking at them. But they also have to charge you with a crime within a very short time, or let you go. Otherwise, you sic your lawyers on them.

            Could the police use trespassing or something on this guy? If not, and you're using a wide open Wi-Fi point, they really have no case. (IANAL)

            Of course, in at least one foreign country I know, if you have a TV set, you have to pay montly subscription... regardless of it being public airwaves or whatnot. Otherwise, they come to your house and seal your TV off.

            • by honkycat (249849) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @11:22AM (#15582735) Homepage Journal
              Could the police use trespassing or something on this guy? If not, and you're using a wide open Wi-Fi point, they really have no case.
              I think it may be more complicated than his simply using an open access point. According to the article, this guy had previously been asked by the police to move along and stop using their wireless network. Thus, he didn't just stop his truck and find an open network that seemed to be inviting him in. Rather, he was continuing to use a network that he had been instructed at least once he was not welcome to use. Even if you hold that a network's being open is generally reasonable permission to use it, this guy knew he did not have permission.
              • by forkazoo (138186) <(wrosecrans) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @12:40PM (#15583334) Homepage
                I think it may be more complicated than his simply using an open access point. According to the article, this guy had previously been asked by the police to move along and stop using their wireless network. Thus, he didn't just stop his truck and find an open network that seemed to be inviting him in. Rather, he was continuing to use a network that he had been instructed at least once he was not welcome to use. Even if you hold that a network's being open is generally reasonable permission to use it, this guy knew he did not have permission.

                Yes, I think this is key. If I am driving around, and I happen apon an open access point, then it is reasonable for me to assume I have permission to use it, and it is reasonable for me to check my email and be on my way. Likewise, if I go to an internet address in my web browser, and I happen to connect to an Apache server on port 80, then I can reasonably assume that it is okay for me to read that web page.

                Some people may disagree with me about it being reasonable to assume that I have permission to use the open access point. But, I think we can all agree that using it is ambiguous. It isn't clearly disallowed. But, if somebody notices me using their access point, and comes out to tell me that it isn't allowed, or they call the cops and have them tell me it isn't allowed, that is different. I can longer assume that I have implicit permission to use that access point. I absolutely know that I do not have that permission. By using the access point, I am willfully doing something that I know isn't allowed. I'd put it in the same moral category as breaking encryption keys on a closed WAP, or trying to hack into a webpage with password protection. The owner of the resource has clearly done something to make it clear that permission is not granted.

                At that point, arresting the belligerent son of a bitch is probably perfectly justified.

                Some people may say that the WAP was broadcasting radio waves into his vehicle, so he had the right to do whatever he wants with them. I'll agree to a point, but I don't think that makes it acceptable to use the WAP. Passively monitoring and analysing the radio waves that enter your property is, IMO, reasonable. I wouldn't do it, and I would consider it morally wrong, but I don't think that monitoring unencrypted radio transmissions should be illegal. If you steal a credit card number or something, *that* may well be illegal. But, I think that making it illegal to tune a radio is a horrible precident. Even so, tuning a radio is different from tying up CPU time of somebody else's WAP, and using bandwidth from their network connections. You are depriving the employees of the coffee shop and the customers from a tangible, finite resource (bandwidth, among other things). That's theft. Theft gets you arrested.
              • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:45PM (#15583762)

                According to the article, this guy had previously been asked by the police to move along and stop using their wireless network... Rather, he was continuing to use a network that he had been instructed at least once he was not welcome to use. Even if you hold that a network's being open is generally reasonable permission to use it, this guy knew he did not have permission.

                I don't think this has any bearing. You see, the police enforce the law, they don't make them or interpret them. The police often order/request people to do things, which often they have authority to do. For example, you walk into the woods from a park and the police stop and tell you to get out of there, it is private property and you are trespassing. They have no legal right to tell you to leave. If there are no signs posted and you come back and they catch you again, you still aren't guilty of anything, despite the fact that you knew it was private property. The fact that they told you you weren't welcome, makes no difference.

                As to the central issue, I have talked to a lawyer about it. He researched the issue after someone told him to stop using the open WAN outside a coffee shop. His professional opinion is it will be ruled legal, based upon property law precedents, but you might want to wait till it makes it through the courts to save yourself a hassle.

          • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@NOsPam.xoxy.net> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:03AM (#15582107) Homepage Journal
            Well, the police are intended to have the power to arrest you without a warrant on the suspicion or reasonable belief that you've broken a law; exactly the standards are for that varies from one jurisdiction to the next, but they can usually hold you (at least where I live) for a certain period of time (24 or 48 hours usually) while they gather evidence, after which they have to begin charging you or release you. Generally the statues require that the officer have "reasonable cause to belive" that you committed a felony, or are driving drunk or a variety of other things. They are supposed to have a particular crime in mind, but there's a little room there (intentionally, IMO) for vagueness.

            It's not clear from what I've read exactly what they suspected of this guy when they arrested him; there are a variety of things they could probably put down that would fly on paper though, at least enough to haul him in for 24 hours. Suspicion of theft of services, fraud, maybe stalking if one of the people in the restaurant filed a private complaint ahead of time. The police and district attorneys do this for a living -- they're pretty good at finding ways to hold on to people if they think they've done something.

            Just from reading the article, it sounds a lot like the people from the restaurant complained to the police about this guy, so they went out there and arrested him, and now they're going to try and figure out whether he broke any laws. It's not really the way that the system is intended to work, but it's how it often does.

            Example rules of criminal procedure [state.ar.us] (These are for AR, but just as an example.)
          • by saleenS281 (859657) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:42AM (#15582422) Homepage
            In communist Chin... er, in this "post 9/11 world" you're guilty until proven innocent. Didn't you get the memo? Terrorist.
    • I wonder if the wifi was free... and if so, it must have been unencrypted...
  • AP Mac Tracking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by celardore (844933) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:09AM (#15581689)
    A different computer expert might have pointed out some ways to see if anyone is piggybacking on a wireless signal (many APs have a Web-interface client list), or even suggested something like NoCatAuth.
    That's fine, if you have a number of known devices - but for something like a coffee shop where you have many different and irregular users that would not be easy. You could probably track down HIS mac address and block that though.
    • Re:AP Mac Tracking (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:20AM (#15581765) Homepage
      no nocatauth is braindead easy to set up. hell a dirt cheap wrt54g + dd-wrt installed = nearly instant anti-leecher setup.

      Print that day's nocat code on the recipts and that stops the leechers.

      dont need to know squat about any user hardware with that setup
      • Re:AP Mac Tracking (Score:3, Insightful)

        by coinreturn (617535)
        Print that day's nocat code on the recipts and that stops the leechers.
        All the leechers have to do is find a discarded receipt - they're sure to be all over the place.
  • It's Open (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:11AM (#15581700)
    If it's open, it's okay to use it.

    Don't want strangers to use your AP? Secure it.

    • Re:It's Open (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Robotech_Master (14247) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:10AM (#15582156) Homepage Journal
      I held this point of view, too, until a friend pointed out a few things about property law to me. I tried to argue, but I ended up coming around to his point of view.

      It's okay to use it until the owner tells you to stop. At that point, it becomes no longer okay to use it.

      If they hadn't first told him to stop--had a policeman tell him to stop--then they wouldn't have had much of a case for arresting him. But once they told him to stop and he came back anyway, then it became a matter of trespassing.

      Look, if a store is open to the public and people come in and shop, that's fine. But if one of them misbehaves and they tell him they don't want his business anymore and to stay out, he's not entitled to come back in just because the door is open and other people are going in. He's been told to stay out, and if he disobeys that order he's trespassing. And while some establishments do have bouncers, it's not beholden on every establishment to have security, because the law is on their side in this matter.

      In this case he was doubly trespassing: using their wireless access after they told him not to, and using their parking lot after they told him not to. Even if they couldn't get him for theft of service, they could still get him for trespassing.

      Would they ever have known he was using their service without buying anything if he hadn't been parked so prominently in their parking lot all that time? Say, if he were located in some business next door? Probably not. But he called attention to himself by acting in an obvious and not a little creepy manner. They had every right to tell him to stop. When he didn't stop, he got arrested.
  • Latte (Score:5, Interesting)

    by countach (534280) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:12AM (#15581708)
    How are they going to prove he never bought a latte? Are they going to be able to swear that in the last three months, of all the lattes they sold, not one was bought by him? How do they know his friend didn't buy one and bring it to him in the car?
    • Re:Latte (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hackstraw (262471) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:38AM (#15581894)
      How are they going to prove he never bought a latte? Are they going to be able to swear that in the last three months, of all the lattes they sold, not one was bought by him? How do they know his friend didn't buy one and bring it to him in the car?

      Who cares?

      This is yet another example where human logic and rationality are excluded when a computer is involved.

      AFAIK, there is no law against using, ahem, free stuff floating in the air.

      There are laws against loitering, vagrancy, and tresspass. Any or all of those could apply to this situation, but no, a computer was involved so it must be some special unwritten law that he broke.

  • by 99luftballon (838486) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:14AM (#15581724)
    Yes this guy was committing theft and should be charged. But why on earth didn't they have their connection locked down? Print the password on the back of a receipt and that way genuine customers can use the connection and the leaches stay outside the network. That said if there are no signs or warnings that the wireless connection was for paying customers only then they could have a problem charging him. A canny lawyer could claim he thought the connection was a free resource, but I'm unfamiliar with US law on this.
    • by Monokeros (200892) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:39AM (#15581910)
      Yes this guy was committing theft and should be charged.

      It's theft is it?
      Has anyone here ever been to a trade show and taken the free swag without ever buying the product promoted on said swag? Have you accepted free posters & whatnot from an auto show without later buying a Ferrari or Porshe?

      Did you ever accepted the free t-shirts that newspapers and other companies hand out on campuses, at sporting events, concerts, etc. all over the country without later purchasing the goods or services they promote?

      Then you sir, are a thief. None of that swag was free for those companies. And you should be charged.

      Some coffee shops offer free WiFi in an effort to get people into the store spending money. If it fails, that's too bad. When someone uses their free wifi without buying anything it's perfectly ethical and it's perfectly legal.

      Other coffee shops charge customers for WiFi. If this shop can't handle the inevitable freeloaders they've certainly got the option to lock down their network--and until they do the freeloaders are doing nothing wrong.
      • There's a slight difference between promotional items, where there is no explicit requirement on the recipient to promote said product, and possibly this case. If there was a clearly observable sign saying that the signal was for customers only then I'm sorry but it is theft.

        I got to a lot of trade shows and have managed stands where we were handing out freebies. While the behavior of some people trying to grab handfuls of USB pen drives is distasteful it would be a long stretch to describe it as theft.
    • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:44AM (#15581943)
      but I'm unfamiliar with US law on this.

      US law is "he is a sex offender -- he has no rights."

      And if you disagree with that, then you are obviously a terrorist.
    • I see people IN coffee shops who I swear have had their butts parked there for 3 months or more and I never see them buy anything. They just sit there with their laptops. They should arrest them too.

      I don't see why they mentioned he was a REGISTERED sex offender. What does that have to do with this? Maybe he stayed outside so they couldn't accuse him of violating some distance restriction.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:14AM (#15581725)
    http://www.openbsd.org/faq/pf/authpf.html [openbsd.org]

    Wrap around some web based account password generator which prints a ticket to a simple serial line printer to hand over with the coffee, set a script to remove the account after the allowable period, and away you go...
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:14AM (#15581727) Homepage Journal

    The whole point of the open AP is to encourage people to hang around in the shop or the area around it. The smart thing would be to send somebody out with a free cup of coffee and get him hooked.

  • I do it too... (Score:5, Informative)

    by deadgoon42 (309575) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:14AM (#15581729) Journal
    When I'm on the road, I piggyback on signals all the time so that I can check my email. The best places are coffee shops and apartment complexes. I usually stop at a complex and just drive around slowly until I get a signal, then I park and surf. Simple password protection would prevent me from doing this, but most people don't bother.
    • by TCM (130219) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:25AM (#15581801)
      I hope you do it over TLS/SSL only with strict cert checks, otherwise you'd be in for a surprise if you did this around my AP. :)

      Don't think every open wireless network is managed by the clueless and not monitored and sniffed.
  • Service? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Balthisar (649688) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:15AM (#15581732) Homepage
    Isn't that a public service? Wouldn't the coffee shop have to complain to the dude first? I've driven into coffee shops' parking lots while on the road *specifically* to use their WiFi. It's an open network. Not just an unsecured network because granny doesn't know how to program her Linksys, but an intentionally open network. Sure, it's not "cool" to be a leech, but it's not specifically prohibited.

    And what does being a sex offender have to do with anything?
  • by technoextreme (885694) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:15AM (#15581733)
    Theft of services??? How about trespassing. Much easier to get him on that especially since the deputies told him to stop hanging around in the parking lot.
  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a_nonamiss (743253) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:17AM (#15581748)
    I don't get the legalities of this all. Was he tresspassing? Was he stealing coffee? Did he sign a contract saying that he would buy x amount of coffee for y amount of bandwidth? If the coffee house wants to secure their network, the technology is available. I get that the guy was a creepy sex offender, making him easy to demonize, but in theory he's paid his pennance and isn't committing more crimes. (aside from dubious wi-fi stealing laws) I am playing music loud on my outdoor speakers, I can't sue my neighbors for listening to it. In the same way, if I'm broadcasting a wi-fi signal, it's my responsibility to secure this signal
    • by SpiritGod21 (884402) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:24AM (#15581799) Homepage

      I am playing music loud on my outdoor speakers, I can't sue my neighbors for listening to it.

      That's because the music doesn't belong to you, it belongs to the RIAA.

      Which reminds me, the RIAA will be along shortly. Something about you distributing music audibly to your neighbours who have not purchased the songs in question.

  • 911???? WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@kei[ ]ead.org ['rst' in gap]> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:18AM (#15581749) Homepage
    Calling 911 when someone is having a heart attack - commendable.

    Calling 911 when someone just stole your car - questionable, but I can understand it I guess since you want to get in touch ASAP since time is of the essence, and you may not know the local police number.

    Calling 911 because someone is annoying you by using your WAP???? How in any way is this an emergency? Why couldn't the store take 30 seconds to look up the local number for the police?

    911 is for emergencies. The phone line time these bozos were taking up to complain about a guy using internet may have delayed an ambulence getting dispatched by 45 seconds - 45 seconds that could mean life or death for someone. People should get fined for this bullshit.

    • Re:911???? WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drewzhrodague (606182)
      Oddly enough, my friend's car was vandalized by some drunk idiot. I mean, multiple keyings, dented hood, broken side mirrors -- they did a good job, the car looks like hell. So, he went to call the police, and it was busy -- ALL DAY LONG. Eventually he called 911, because he couldn't get through. After explaining the situation, the operator asked him why he didn't call there first. "Because it's for emergencies," my friend said. The operator told him to use 911 next time. Go figure.
    • 811? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ChristTrekker (91442) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:30AM (#15581831)

      I completely agree. Wasn't there an effort (like 10 years ago) to get 811 pushed through as the number to call for non-emergency needs? Sure would be handy, since no one ever knows the local numbers, especially as mobile as people are today.

      • Re:811? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Niten (201835)

        I'm not sure about 811, but in my area 311 will connect you to a non-emergency dispatcher.

    • Re:911???? WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eccles (932)
      I had a car radio stolen once. It was stolen overnight, so presumably it had been hours since the theft occurred. I tried calling the police station via numbers in the phone book. They told me to call 911.

      The phone line time these bozos were taking up to complain about a guy using internet may have delayed an ambulence getting dispatched by 45 seconds

      You know, they have more than one operator.
    • Re:911???? WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrchaotica (681592) *
      Why couldn't the store take 30 seconds to look up the local number for the police? 911 is for emergencies.

      Yeah, just try telling that to the Atlanta PD. If you try to call their regular number to report a non-urgent situation, all they'll do is tell you to hang up and call 911 because the dispatchers are apparently the only ones who record incidents.

    • by MECC (8478) * on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:42AM (#15581924)
      I'd like to hear the transcript of that call.

      Caller: "Help! Help! Someone's using my wireless access point without my permission!"
      Operator: "Are you in danger?"
      Caller: "No, but I think they might be downloading music...!"
      Operater: "We'll get a swat team there right away."

  • sex-offender (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:19AM (#15581756)
    > Turns out the guy was a registered sex-offender as well.

    So what if he's using someone elses internet connection? It's not morally wrong as far as I'm concerned, and it's probably not even legally wrong in a lot of places. The people in the coffee shop are selling someone elses coffee - which they've paid a fraction of what they're going to make off it to the original suppliers for. I mean, while we're talking about being fair here...

    (It wouldn't be so bad if he'd been a communist, drug user or muslim. Gotta keep those bogeymen alive...need an excuse to spy, burgle and bug citizens.)
    • need an excuse to spy, burgle and bug citizens

      Haven't you heard? it's burglarize! "Burgle" is such a British word. And you know the British - they owe us for saving them in World War II. That's right, if it wasn't for ground forces at Normandy, the RAF never would've won the Battle of Britain.

      Besides, "burgle" makes sense. A burgler...burgles. If we allow our language to make sense, the people might start thinking for themselves.

      (OT, but that is an interesting twist on Sapir-Whorf. Has anyone looked into th
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:20AM (#15581763) Homepage
    There is a certain degree of expectation that if you are going to use their network, that you need to be a paying customer. It's not hard to go in and buy a coffee. I've done that with small coffee shops that provide wireless. I go in and buy something--in cash--so that they know I'm paying my way. If you can't afford a $1.50 cup of cheap coffee, you should be working instead of sitting there with your laptop leeching off their connection. This is a welfare baby mentality. We need the police to intervene in cases like this or a few miscreants will end up ruining it for the rest of us.

    And one last thing. It's very unlikely that the same workers who noticed him using their wifi would not have noticed him coming in as a buying customer, given how long he was doing this.
    • Then be honest. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      Have a notice saying Internet access to paying customers. If you have a sign saying it is free then I figure it is free to use. Frankly I have never used free wifi anywhere since it never seems to be where I need it on business and I just don't take my notebook with me to lunch. I think calling the police and charging this guy was wrong. Someone should have asked him not to freeload or the Police should have asked him not to. Why the hell should the taxpayers have to foot the bill for his jail time, trial,
  • by bnocturnal (950679) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:22AM (#15581779)
    Why is this a police matter? Seems to me that the Cafe was not taking any measure to prevent his use... Did they even have a "Click through" page where he had to agree to "Terms of Service", i wonder? This would be like me putting a bench in a public park and calling the police if anybody sat on it. The ones being arrested should be the business owners... for wasting the Police's time, and for making false 911 calls.
  • Contradictory? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mayhem178 (920970) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:23AM (#15581792)
    using their open wireless AP

    When deputies told Smith to knock it off, he came back and is now charged with theft of services.

    This article is pure FUD. Okay, the guy was a sex offender. The article only mentions this once, and it clearly says they have no idea if he actually did anything wrong. It just says that to discredit him.

    I can't help but wonder if during those 3 months anyone working at the coffee shop bothered to ask him if he wanted a drink, or informed him that he would have to make a purchase if he wanted to continue using their wireless AP.

    A computer expert told KATU News there is no way to know if someone is using your wireless connection without permission.

    Some computer expert.....did I mention this was all FUD?
  • That's just lazy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clevershark (130296) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:24AM (#15581800) Homepage
    It seems to me that an individual or company who, in this day and age, deliberately chooses to not enable any security on his wireless network really shouldn't get any sympathy from anyone.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:29AM (#15581827)
    If they leave their internet wide open and broadcast an SSID then I beleive its fair to assume that this is an open invatiation and they are offerng a community service.

    If he was just using the internet why would the coffee shop give a damn anyway? its not like they are losing anything. In fact, I would have thought the coffee-shop would WANT to offer a free wifi zone as its free publicity about how community-minded they are.

    I think there must be more in this. He was probably parked in front of thsir shop, downloading porn and masturbating in public.
  • Vancouver WA sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Simonetta (207550) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:31AM (#15581842)
    Not to belittle my wonderful neighbors too much, but anything that happens in Vancouver, Washington (not Vancouver BC) should not be taken seriously. The place is on the north side of the Columbia River in the Portland Oregon metro area. Oregon has no sales tax but high income taxes. Consequently Vancouver is filled with people who want the cheap income and property taxes and to also hop across the river to buy everything with no sales tax.
        Also, Portland tends to be liberal, environmental, and moderately progressive while Vancouver is packed with pious, self-righteous, bible-thumping, overweight, narrow-minded freaks who believe that they have managed to keep their own little piece of Alabama pure while surrounded by sinners and liberals.

        So some guy found a WiFi hot spot. And he parked his car there. Every day. for three months.
    So what?
        And he's a 'sex offender' too. Well, in Vancouver, a sex offender may a guy who has done some seriously bad things with his ... Or, it may be some guy who twenty years ago got caught unireating ('taking a whiz' in the American slang) behind a bar or gas station in the middle of the night. Or got caught kissing a 17-year-old girl when he was 18. Or got caught swimming naked in a lake in the woods on a hot summer day. Or, lots of other stupid harmless things that the Americans lump into the category of sex offences that have nothing to do with sex offences.

        Or maybe he really is a super predator who actually was endangering the community by...what was it?, oh, yes... parking his car and using his computer in it.
  • Analogy time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Churla (936633) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:31AM (#15581845)
    Complaining that someone was using an unsecured, free AP as theft of services is like saying someone should have to close their eyes if they hang around outside your store at night as to avoid taking advantage of your free lights.

    (someone has to have a better one than that, let's see it!)

    What it boils down to is that if they want people to have to buy something to use the WAP then secure it in a way as to assure that happens, don't complain because you're too lazy to do something proactive to control it. It isn't hard. People fire up a browser , first page is a redirect on which they have to enter the "password du jour" which, as mentioned above, could easily be printed on the reciepts or even on a small sign next to the cash register.
    • Re:Analogy time! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stinerman (812158)

      Complaining that someone was using an unsecured, free AP as theft of services is like saying someone should have to close their eyes if they hang around outside your store at night as to avoid taking advantage of your free lights.

      Not exactly. Since the wireless bandwidth is shared, anything the leecher used dimished what others can use. It is not so with lights. That being said, I tend to agree with you that using an open AP should not be a crime. The AP broadcasts the SSID. DHCP does the rest. In effe

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:32AM (#15581848)
    Aside of people who deliberately keep their APs open as a service to the community, there are numerous who just can't get their APs secured. Yes, of course, internet crimes are a lot easier from insecure APs. The only reason why it isn't done more often is simply that there are easier, also impossible to trace, ways to do it than driving around for it.

    What does the legal system do? Require people to close their APs or keep logs? No. What they do is, the person who's smart enough to use that security hole gets the blame. Oh sure, he's a sex offender. So "think of the children" is this time the excuse, I guess.

    If you don't understand technology, don't use it. If you want to use something, make sure you know how to use it. If you fuck up, don't shift the blame on someone else for your blunder.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:32AM (#15581851) Homepage Journal
    They should publish clearly that anyone who does not purchase x$ of goods in a period Y will be prosecuted. They should also publish that anyone sitting in their coffee shop must purchase x$ of of goods in a period Y or they will be arrested and prosecuted as well. They also need to monitor how many napkins and straws people use as well as the quantities of milk. If you go over your allotment you will be arrested. I mean fair is fair, isn't it?
    • I have a feeling that we aren't hearing the whole story here. It's probably just a case of bad journalism. If I'm reading TFA correctly, the police had already told him that he couldn't come back. This would mean that he had been told by the police that he was banned from the premesis. It's likely that he had been doing something to annoy their customers and wasn't just minding his own business and surfing. This would mean that the restaurant already had the cops there once before and had the guy banne
  • What on earth...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steveo777 (183629) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @09:39AM (#15581900) Homepage Journal
    I like all the people who are asking what he did wrong. Well, for one let's just drop the fact that he's a sex offender. The guy had been sitting in their parking lot for hours. I don't know how busy this place got, but the parking lot is for customers, and if he wasn't sitting in his car for hours at a time, he would have been towed. Then there's the fact that this is obviously his primary use of the internet and he's not even supporting the company. So he may not have affected anyone elses surfing or parking, but he's in the way regaurdless. It's just indescent. I know I use coffee shop wifi all the time. But I'll always have coffee or something when I'm there.

    Now I am going to say they should have kicked him out after a few days of parking in the lot for hours and not buying anything. Not three months.

    • by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
      Yes, it was wrong/underhanded/sneaky. The question is...was it illegal?
  • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:05AM (#15582132)
    "As it turns out, Smith is a Level One Sex Offender"

    How is this a relevant detail to the story? Now, if this guy was using their connection to commit such crimes against other people, THEN it would be an important detail. Otherwise, IMHO, the story really doesn't seem that important.

    NEWS FLASH! A 22 year old man was cited for jay walking on a busy street and as it turns out he's a sex offender! More details on KBS at 10!

    -or-

    NEWS FLASH! A 19 year old boy was arrested today for stealing a hand full of 5 cent bubble gum. During a news conference today it was revealed that he is also a statutory rapist!
  • A computer EXPERT? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) * <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:14AM (#15582189) Homepage
    From the 'news' story:

    "A computer expert told KATU News there is no way to know if someone is using your wireless connection without permission."

    There are a whole lot of ways to do that. My DD-WRT firmware lets me know the MAC address of all wireless clients connected, and allows me to ban them with a single click.

    What kind of computer expert did they talk to?
  • by Asphalt (529464) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:59AM (#15582563)
    "A computer expert told KATU News there is no way to know if someone is using your wireless connection without permission."

    I don't know about you guys, but all of my wireless routers have a web interface that shows every MAC address and computer name that currently has an IP address assigned.

    There certainly is a way to know if someone is using your wireless connection without permission.

    It doesn't set off alarms and flash a big neon light saying "unauthorized access" or anything, but if at any point in time I want to see who is using my router, I can.

    There are also little applets than can email access reports to you, and it would seem very simply to have the thing ping a URL which in turn would have the router send you an SMS or email for everytime someone logs on or off.

    Something that the quoted "computer expert" might have wanted to mention instead of the inaccurate blanket statement "there is no way to know".

    There is a way to know, most people who run wide open just don't care.

  • by shizzle (686334) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @11:02AM (#15582578)
    http://www.columbian.com/news/localNews/06212006ne ws37573.cfm [columbian.com]

    Seems like he was parking in their parking lot, and refused to go even after they repeatedly asked him to leave, so I don't see why this isn't an open-and-shut trespassing case. (Of course, IANAL.)

    I'll let others comment on the mention of "erotic services".

  • by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:12PM (#15583527) Journal
    Is "Brewed Awakening" in for a rude awakening? Who's going to forgive THEIR trespasses if THEY don't even forgive those of a poor guy who lives in a van? "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

    Now, I can SEE why they'd be pissed off if he were using up scarce bandwidth, and their customers/employees were lacking, but I doubt he's using much bandwidth, and it's not COSTING them any extra. So, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO GOOD OLD FASHIONED KINDNESS?! Every so often, life provides us with the opportunity to help one another out. In the long run, we're better off if we take those opportunities.

    Consider that the poor guy's circumstances. He's living in a van, for heaven's sakes! AND he has a felony conviction on his record. How's THAT help for finding employment? Internet is almost a fact of life these days, and how on earth do you think he's gonna get net access? If he doesn't have a land address, and/or can't afford wireless access, then it seems to me it's just the right thing to do to tolerate his trespasses.

    Worried about his criminal record? If it were a junior high school I'd be concerned, but it's a cafe, and he's not in prison NOW, and he doesn't have warrants, right? Last time I checked, that meant he's a FREE MAN WITH FULL CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

    I can imagine why they might not want that van always out front, but Jesus said
    "Love your neighbor as yourself,"
    "Love your enemy,"
    and be a good Samaritan.

    Yes, I know, /. is full of athiests, but I'm sure they can appreciate the virtue of those ideals.

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