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Jailtime For Leeching Wireless? 587

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-gotta-suck dept.
jginspace writes "A 17-year-old from Singapore is is facing three years' jailtime for accessing his neighbor's wireless network. His neighbor complained and now the unfortunate Tan Jia Luo is facing charges under the computer misuse act and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday."
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Jailtime For Leeching Wireless?

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  • More info (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12, 2006 @12:25PM (#16814104)

    More details at the local HardwareZone Forum [hardwarezone.com]:

    Teen, 17, first to be charged with unauthorised wireless Net access

    By Chua Hian Hou

    A 17-YEAR-OLD polytechnic student has become the first person here to be charged with piggybacking on someone else's wireless Internet connection.

    Garyl Tan Jia Luo was accused yesterday of using a laptop computer to gain unauthorised access to a home wireless network on May 13 this year.

    If convicted, Tan faces up to three years in jail and fines of up to $10,000 under Section 6(1)(a) of the Computer Misuse Act.

    Tan was released on $6,000 bail and is scheduled to appear at the Subordinate Courts on Wednesday.

    Court documents did not describe the circumstances in which Tan was arrested, but The Straits Times understands that a neighbour near his Casuarina Walk home had lodged a complaint against him.

    While there are no statistics on how commonplace the practice of piggybacking unsecured home wireless networks is, networking firm Cisco System's spokesman, Mr Rayson Cheo, said it is probably quite widespread here.

    Most modern notebook computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs) have the ability to sniff out unsecured networks and hop online for free with just a few clicks.

    There are numerous guides online that describe how to do this and the low cost of wireless networking equipment means that most HDB or condominium blocks have unprotected networks users can log on to.

    Said Mr Cheo: 'People assume, wrongly, that since it is there, it is okay to use it.'

    Mr Aloysius Cheang, the chairman of local infocomm security association, the Special Interest Group in Security and Information Integrity, said: 'Most people probably do it because it is convenient, or because they are cheap and want free Internet.

    'But, for some, it is because they want to do something illegal like defaming someone or downloading pirated MP3s, and they don't want the activities traced back to their own network.'

    In the online world, there are even special terms for it, like 'wardriving' and 'Wi-Fi mooching'.

    The problem, said lawyer Bryan Tan, is that while most people know that mooching is not quite legitimate, they probably do not know that it can be treated as a serious offence.

    'Blinkered by the convenience and allure of ?free Internet', people don't realise that mooching is the virtual equivalent of trespassing,' he added.

    Likewise, many users do not seem to realise that they can block moochers simply by installing a password on their Internet connections.

    For most users, the only indication they get that someone is mooching is when their connection speed slows down, though Mr Cheo said software tools are available for download that can track who is using a network and what they are doing on it.

    While the case is the first of its kind here, there have been at least two similar arrests and convictions in the United States.

    In some countries like Holland, Mr Tan added, Wi-Fi network owners can even be held liable by the courts for crimes committed on their unprotected networks.

    chuahh@sph.com.sg [mailto]

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jshackney (99735)
      There are numerous guides online that describe how to do this and the low cost of wireless networking equipment means that most HDB or condominium blocks have unprotected networks users can log on to.

      A particularly interesting guide [oreillynet.com] that, if accurate, makes me wonder why people still bother with wireless security at all. Note that it is in excess of 3 years old--the info. may not apply today.

      Said Mr Cheo: 'People assume, wrongly, that since it is there, it is okay to use it.'

      So, when I go to an airport to s
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by alienw (585907)
        Uh, everyone knows WEP is not secure. That's why there is WPA, which is not crackable as far as I know.

        Besides, it's possible to open a typical house lock in about 30 seconds with a lockpick. This does not make it OK to break into someone's house. It's possible to snoop on someone's cordless phone. This is illegal. Using a wireless network without permission is the same thing.
        • by bcat24 (914105)
          It's possible to snoop on someone's cordless phone. This is illegal.
          Is it? It's just a radio device, after all. Then again, there may well be special laws for cordless bands. I know there are for the analog cell phone bands.
          • Re:More info (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cayenne8 (626475) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:39PM (#16814598) Homepage Journal
            I've got an old scanner that picks up old analog cordless phones and cell phones....I heard some VERY interesting conversations..about sexual liasons...and couldn't believe how people would freely give out bank and other private/financial info over the insecure air.

            That being said....with open wireless access points? Jail time? I mean, c'mon!! AS I posted on the story about 5-10 yrs. in prison for Dos attackers....let the sentence reflect the severity of the crime!!

            Violent offenders can and do get off for less than 3 years!!!

            If someone leaves an AP on and open...I think that is pretty much a free invite to join in...

            And if not...well, for sure it isn't worth imprisoning someone 3 years!!

            • Re:More info (Score:4, Insightful)

              by kdemetter (965669) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @02:21PM (#16814864)
              I think that is pretty much a free invite to join in

              I agree . If someone doesn't wont you to use their wireless , there are many ways to prevent it .



              It's even possible to use their wireless unintentionally . if the signal is strong enough , your computer may decide to use that one . So you can go to jail because your computer screwed you over .



              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by DViper01 (898486)
                if the signal is strong enough , your computer may decide to use that one
                That's totally true. I don't know the defaults for Windows, but a Mac will by default scan all wireless networks and if it can't find one in your 'favorites' list, it'll pop-up a dialog asking if you want to join wireless network X, where X is the strongest open one it can find. I never joined an open wireless network from someone else, but that dialog makes you think it's really no deal to do so.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by bhalter80 (916317)
                  Ahh but here's the nuance. Linksys routers ship with an ESSID of 'Linksys' so when I go to my grandparents' place I attach to their router named 'Linksys' it automatically gets added to my favorites list. I then go to a client's place where I whip out my laptop and begin taking notes of our meeting. Assuming in this setting that there were an open AP named 'Linksys' and there were no other suitable APs Windows would automatically associate. It doesn't do any checking around ok this is Linksys@12:23:34:4
            • Re:More info (Score:5, Insightful)

              by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexus[ ]org ['uk.' in gap]> on Sunday November 12, 2006 @03:25PM (#16815378) Homepage
              If someone leaves an AP on and open...I think that is pretty much a free invite to join in...

              What I find most interesting is that an open accesspoint is actually broadcasting invitations - if accepting an invitation is considered illegal, how is accessing a web server legal? I mean, a web server doesn't broadcast it's presence so you have to actively try and connect.

              How can I tell the difference between an accesspoint that is intentionally open and one that has been set up by an idiot? Should I assume that everyone's an idiot? The next time I want to go to the pub, am I to assume that the building I'm about to enter isn't really a pub and the "Bar" sign hanging outside the door was put there accidentally?

              When you associate with an open network, it's not as if you're going down the road trying doors to see if they're open - you're actually getting invitations broadcast to you and many devices will connect without asking - are you responsible for your computer connecting to a random access point without asking you first?
            • Re:More info (Score:4, Insightful)

              by no-body (127863) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @03:59PM (#16815646)
              You forget where this is - Singapure.


              Can't you get a jail sentence there for littering a cigarette bud, or something of that or similar "severeness"?

              If things continue as they are in US, this may come here too.


              Ever seen a new law or regulation coming out recently which gives more freedom or is sensible instead of making things tighter?

              This whole mechanism and attitude of people pulling the strings goes towards more control and punishment. Totally senseless and idiotic!

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward
              Yes, the "justice" systems of the world are crooked.

              3 years for joining a WiFi network that was wide open to the world, and NOT doing any harm (this guy)?

              6 or more years for breaking into networks but NOT causing harm, and reporting the vulnerabilities (mitnick)?

              280+ years for not evading taxes, but structuring withdrawls to avoid dealing with complicated invasive paperwork (Kent Hovind), and using an IRS-appointed jury and disallowing the defense's evidence?

              20+ years for dealing cocaine (one of my idiotic
        • Re:More info (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Catbeller (118204) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:38PM (#16814580) Homepage
          Home locks are pickable so that police and locksmiths can open them. Your home is accessible by law.

          That said, radio devices are not homes, WEP is not a lock, and accessing a device which sole purpose by design is sharing access is not invading private property. Metaphors are not real. Radio is not "yours", ideas are not "yours". Such semantic confusion -- intentional confusion -- leads to things like 17 year old kids going to prison for a crime that only exists in the the minds of hornswoggled. The thing to look out for in the years ahead is the first execution of a person for "stealing" a metaphor. Probably going to happen a lot sooner than even I believe it will.
    • Re:More info (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @02:35PM (#16814934) Homepage
      though Mr Cheo said software tools are available for download that can track who is using a network and what they are doing on it.

      Yeah, it's called your router's software.

      My old 802.11b wireless router died a few years back. I didn't have a laptop at the time, but my girlfriend did. It was literally 6 months before we noticed that her laptop wasn't connecting to our router, but rather a unsecured wireless router in the building. It was just automatically connecting to what's available.

      This is not "stealing" network access, or "breaking in" to your house. This is a device, available for everyone nearby, which is constantly broadcasting packets saying quite literally "Hey, I'm here! Does anyone want to connect to me?" Your computer then says "Hey, I'm a laptop. This is my network card identification. Can I get on your network?" The router then says "Sure, hop on. I'll route your packets."

      This is not someone coming to your house and attaching alligator clips to your phone line. This is YOUR router, working in YOUR stead, behaving exactly as YOU have configured it to. This is like a secretary whom you've told to let anyone into your building. If you can't be bothered to train the secretary in the simplest of fashions (and putting a password on a network isn't exactly rocket science), you shouldn't envoke the police when you find they have let random people into the building.

      If you can't spend the ten fucking minutes to put a password on your network, you shouldn't waste the judicial system's time when people access it.
  • by also-rr (980579) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @12:29PM (#16814132) Homepage
    1. Don't take any of the many simple steps I could take to lock down my network despite the fact that many devices are designed to automatically lock onto any open wireless network.
    2. Rename wireless network free help yourself.
    3. Insist that charges are pressed against my neighbours.
    4. Buy their houses at low low prices and use the space for an indoor pool and a bowling alley.
  • Isn't this the same country where chewing gum is banned and trafficking drugs is a capital offence
    • Nope (Score:3, Informative)

      by argoff (142580) *
      What was really funny is that Singapore has laws against wasting water, but then they also have laws requiring you to flush the tiolet in public places. So people got all scared that it was illegal to poop, because if they flushed they could be fined for wasting water and if the didn't they could be fined for not flushing. Of course, they couldn't complain about this problem because it would embarass the government and bring penalities upon them too, so to my knowledge it is still technically illegal to
      • by Fred_A (10934)
        So people got all scared that it was illegal to poop, because if they flushed they could be fined for wasting water and if the didn't they could be fined for not flushing.
        From what I gathered, you're supposed to flush with your bottle of soda. It improves your health, sterilizes the toilet and flushes it all in one go ! :)
      • It was because they engineered their subway system so poorly and so stupidly, that if you blocked one door - that none of the other doors would work and the whole freakin system would shut down. It wasn't long before kids discovered that all they gotta do is stuff their gum in the door on the way out, so then the doors couldn't shut, the subway couldn't move, and the whole freaking system would go out of service.

        I would say the system should shut down if a door is stuck open. Do you really think a system t
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IWannaBeAnAC (653701)

        So, can you point to a subway system where blocking a door doesn't prevent the subway from moving???

        Also, some evidence of your claim about the reason for the ban on chewing gum would be appreciated. 'Cause I think you might be wrong.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by KenSeymour (81018)
          According to this [bbc.co.uk] the ban has been softened. You can now buy chewing gum with a prescription.

          Here are some other references to the chewing gum [expatsingapore.com] ban [usatoday.com].
      • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

        by Slimcea (832228) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @03:24PM (#16815364)
        How the fuck this got modded Informative I have no idea, but here are the firsthand facts from someone living there - water wastage is indeed illegal, but the context in which it is applied has always been towards wanton wastage of public water for non-constructive purposes. Private usage of water has never been regulated - you're free to do exactly what you want with the water flowing out of your taps; just be expected to pay for it. On the other hand, public water (aka those from public taps) wastage is regulated, and there should is no reason why it shouldn't be. While washing your cars with water from public taps or using them to fill up water guns for a friendly water fight has and will always be fine, there should be no reason to allow people to use up a swimming pool's worth of water just to clean a dirty windscreen.

        As for the gum and the subway issue, I don't know where you live, but over here, automation means the lack of human oversight, so to err on safety is always better for commuters. I sure as hell wouldn't want to be flung out of a high speed train onto a set of electric rails just because they decided that hey, a door that won't shut isn't as important as sticking to the schedule. As a citizen and frequent user of said train system, despite what was reported, gum pretty much affected the running of the trains. What gum certainly was though was a public nuisance that stuck to your shoes or pants if you were unlucky enough. I'll concede that I don't think the magnitude of the problem back then was large enough to warrant a complete ban.

        In any case, you clearly have no idea of what you're talking about. Gum was banned in 1992, and your other posts on kids and drugs (categorically false BTW) makes it abundantly clear that (a) you've never stepped foot in Singapore (b) you have no idea what is going on in Singapore.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by The Cydonian (603441)

          Gum is not banned. Sale of gum is. Perfectly legal to step through Changi or Woodlands with your pockets full of chewing gum. And even at that, gum for "medicinal" purposes is still legal; it is possible to get Wringley's at your local Guardian's, just that you have to give in your NRIC number and stuff. (Haven't tried it though; my hatred for gum is long-standing, and beats my contempt for Big Brother Singapore)

          No, I don't get tired pointing this out all the time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Potor (658520)
        apparently anything can be modded +5 informative on slashdot.
  • Is this really a surprise? This is the same country where you can be caned for simple acts of vandalism.
    • by grozzie2 (698656)
      If some other unnamed countries actually enforced thier laws against vanadalism, you would be able to drive down the streets without a constant bombardment of filth spray painted on everything. You never know, it might actually end up safe to actually walk down those streets. But, it's probably a lot easier to sit back and criticize the way others do things than it is to actually fix the issues at home. FWIW, I believe we have read here on /. about folks in florida and another state being charged for jus
      • There's a saying... (Score:5, Informative)

        by bnavarro (172692) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:01PM (#16814326)
        "The Punishment Does Not Fit The Crime"

        My understanding is that Singapore's punishment for littering, vandalism, drugs, and most everything else, is far more severe than most liberal democracies would tolerate. It is NOT surprising, therefore, that he is facing 3 years / $10,000 fine in Singapore, whereas in a western country he would likely face < 1 year + < $3,000 fine for a first offence of a crime of this nature, unless he was caught using the wireless access to do something else illicit, like download child pornography.

        Singapore is a police state. It is not a liberal democracy. It is unfortunate that he is facing such a harsh sentice for such a minor crime, but it should not be unexpected in an unfree country such as this.

        Not to end on a trollish note, but honestly, if you believe that caning and a lengthy prison sentence is a fair and just punishment for spraypainting a wall, then I would suggest you try living in a country that practices such harsh punishments, and see how long you like it there.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          I have lived there, and by and large, this system works well because they publicise the laws so much. Spraypainting a wall is vandalism if whoever owns that wall does not want it there. If you want to avoid the punishment, I'd say it's fairly easy not to do the crime. I've never spraypainted anyones wall by accident anyway. If spraypainting is your thing, buy some canvas, or spraypaint your own house, at least then its you paying for your hobby, not somebody else having to pay to have it removed. The punish
      • In all fairness, 99% of the time the spray paint problem comes from gangs marking their territories, and 99% of the time they mark their territories because they want to minimize killing each other in drug related turf wars. Translation: kill the war on drugs and the graffiti problem will disapear overnight.

        Singapore tried just the opposite. They tried to hide the graffiti problem, but that led to an explosion in drug violence, so then they cracked down hard on drug dealers and drug users. But that ment
    • According to wikipedia [wikipedia.org]: Owning a satellite dish is banned, and the only TV service comes from one of two state-ran monopoly media corporations. Also, pornography of ANY kind is completely banned (playboy, etc.) which would probably disturb some slashdot readers. A police permit is required in order to hold a public assembly (even when groups are small). Eating or drinking of anything on public transit carries a 5000$ fine. They heavily filter the internet for anything that "may be a threat to public securi

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Rude Turnip (49495)
        Do they have any oil? I think the Singaporeans need to be "liberated" a la Bush 2.0 :)
    • by Fred_A (10934)
      This is the same country where you can be caned for simple acts of vandalism.
      Ok, so in other countries you'll be canned for vandalism. You're going to fuss over a letter now ? What are you, a spelling nazi ? You know what they do to spelling nazis over there ? Huh ?
  • by Zerbey (15536) * on Sunday November 12, 2006 @12:32PM (#16814150) Homepage Journal
    Putting aside the fact that running an unsecured network should also be a punishable offence in this day and age, the kid was still in the wrong. Just because you can break into a network does not give you the right to do so. The question is whether or not he did it on purpose or if it was just another stupid Windows box attaching to the nearest open wireless access point (I've lost count of the number of times I've accidentally attached to my neighbour's WAP [1] ... telling Windows not too is like pulling teeth).

    I just hope the conviction isn't too harsh. A fine would be more appropriate than jail time.

    [1] And yes, I have told him to fix it. Even did the neighbourly thing and secured his network for for him. The following day he removed my configuration because "he didn't like entering a password". He'll learn the hard way eventually.

    • The kid trespassed upon the private property of another (his neighbor). If he had walked into his neighbor's home -- even had that home been unlocked -- the crime would be obvious to all. The neighbor's unsecured network is private property in just the same fashion.

      As for the proportionality of the punishment: well, that's a matter for the sovereign nation of Singapore and its citizens to resolve.
      • I don't think it is quite that cut and dry, although you make a valid point; that it was not his connection to use. The problem here is that many people purposfully leave their wireless open so that others can use it. I don't know if that is as widespread in Singapore however since the law is much more restrictive. When I first turned on a new mac notebook recently, it auto searched for networks and found one. Would using that network be wrong? What if I thought it was my network but wasn't really? If
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ranton (36917)
          The problem here is that many people purposfully leave their wireless open so that others can use it.
          When I first turned on a new mac notebook recently, it auto searched for networks and found one. Would using that network be wrong?

          Yes, it is wrong. The user agreement for virtually all ISPs does not allow their users to share their internet connection wirelessly, no matter how generous your neighbors feel. Permission is not theirs to give. If a friend of mine had 1 Bears football ticket and tried to snea
          • by Hizonner (38491) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:36PM (#16814564)
            The user agreement for virtually all ISPs does not allow their users to share their internet connection wirelessly, no matter how generous your neighbors feel.

            False. Yes, most consumer ISP service agreements forbid this. There are significant exceptions. And almost any ISP that has any non-consumer operations will sell you a connection that you can share if you're willing to give them enough money. I have a "legal" open wireless network, with the permission of my ISP, and so do lots of other people. There is no reason my users should assume my network isn't legitimate.

            If you leave a network wide open, you are doing the only thing you can to invite people to use it. Absent information to the contrary, there's no reason it should be forbidden to assume the good faith of such an invitation. If your ISP service agreement doesn't permit you to share the bandwidth, then you need to close down the network, or somehow put people on notice that they can't use it. Only you, not the users, are in the wrong if you don't.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Pig Hogger (10379)

        As for the proportionality of the punishment: well, that's a matter for the sovereign nation of Singapore and its citizens to resolve.

        Well, not for the citizens, because Singapore is hardly democratic; citizens certainly have no say in the way the country runs.

        Heck, even the economic growth rate is a state secret!!!!

        Feh. Singapore: Disneyland with the death penalty (William Gibson) [wired.com]

    • by Hizonner (38491) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @12:42PM (#16814224)

      You know what? Fuck you.

      I will be continuing to run my intentionally "unsecured" wireless network.

      How come every random carrier gets to run a wireless network that anybody can use for $10/hour (and, yes, that can be paid anonymously in cash), but I should be punished if I choose to do the same thing for free? For that matter, how come the backbone ISPs get to carry traffic for everybody, everywhere, without asking any questions, but I shouldn't? How come (I suspect you think) they're not responsible for what their users do, but I am?

      If you don't like freedom of communication, then get off the Internet.

      ... and I'm sorry you can't learn to configure your computer properly. Sucks to be you, I guess.

      Oh, and the kid was in the wrong only if he was somehow on notice that the network wasn't intended to be public. Otherwise my right to run an open network would be compromised.

      • by slashbob22 (918040) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:05PM (#16814352)
        How come every random carrier gets to run a wireless network that anybody can use for $10/hour (and, yes, that can be paid anonymously in cash), but I should be punished if I choose to do the same thing for free? For that matter, how come the backbone ISPs get to carry traffic for everybody, everywhere, without asking any questions, but I shouldn't?
        I think if you consult the License agreement for your ISP, you will find that you are not permitted to effectively become another Tier 2/3 ISP. Even at "free" you are still buying IP transit from another ISP and providing it to others.

        For that matter, how come the backbone ISPs get to carry traffic for everybody, everywhere, without asking any questions, but I shouldn't?
        For the same reason, you are the one signing the LA and because you are not an ISP, it is assumed that all traffic originating from you is yours/under your control. Certain liability has been waived from ISPs in regards to content because they are merely "keepers of the pipe" and have little influence on what goes through them - you do not fall into that category.

        This is what I understand, but the obvious caveat to this is IANAL.
        • by Hizonner (38491) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:26PM (#16814516)

          I think that you will find you are wrong. My ISP explicitly permits and encourages me to run a wireless network, which I may run as either paid or open. The agreements are in order all the way up the chain.

          And it's a service agreement, by the way, not a license agreement.

        • by Hizonner (38491) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:53PM (#16814694)

          I'm sorry; I missed the second part.

          In fact, I am just the "keeper of the pipe" in the same way that my upstream ISP is. I AM a service provider for my wireless users, and all the protections applied to service providers apply to me. I have as much legal right, and certainly as much moral right, to act as a service provider as does any large, for-profit corporate entity.

          The basic moral truth here is that I have an absolute right to provide any communication service I want to anybody. Where I am, the law doesn't forbid that right now. Changing or reinterpreting the law to forbid it, or to make it impractical by loading on a lot of stupid administrative and data retention requirements, would be evil and illegitimate.

      • by ScentCone (795499)
        Oh, and the kid was in the wrong only if he was somehow on notice that the network wasn't intended to be public. Otherwise my right to run an open network would be compromised.

        Which is a nice, righteous-sounding defense of the circumstances that provide cover for people who want to be able to use other people's personal networks without asking.

        It's much like the pure-as-the-driven-snow carping we hear from people that, mostly interested in being too cheap to pay for their entertainment, insist that al
      • by westlake (615356)
        You know what? Fuck you.

        Hopefully, the kid will have the good sense not to bring this attitude into a Singapore court.

        How come..they're not responsible for what their users do, but I am?

        Because you are the owner of a record of a limited-access household account.

        If you want the legal protection of an ISP, and to share your connection with one hundred or so of your closest friends, you incorporate as a non-profit ISP and contract for service with an upstream provider.

      • Its not cheap to run a backbone for the internet and the ISP's have a right to make sure they are not undercut this way. Yes, you may say its not your problem that their bussiness model is flawed but if they did try to charge what is fair you can expect very low data rates or the telecoms would become bankrupt due to the high overhead costs. We have alot of high bandwith now for cheap

        Internet access is fairly cheap and there are free access in many libraries and even coffee houses for cheap prices. How much
    • by laffer1 (701823)
      I don't have a problem with someone using a completely unsecured wireless network because its sometimes hard to determine if its intentional or not. One neighbor runs a "public" wireless network for everyone. I know he's sniffing traffic on it, but it is intentionally public. Another neighbor regularly tries to break into other wireless networks. He actually went up to my wife a month ago and said that ours was much more challenging that the rest. She told him we did that because we don't want people s
    • I run an unlogged, free, rather-throttled, old "b" access point, unsecured, for the purpose of easy Nintendo DS hookups. This should be a punishable offense? I encourage you to come on over and preach some more simplistic crap. Now, the DS open access may be a breach of an ISP agreement. If you work for my ISP, contact me, and we can handle it in a civil manner. Otherwise, go administrate your own networks.
    • You should not break into a network because you can, absolutely. On the other hand, I do not believe that mooching off open wireless connections counts as "breaking in" to a network. If a person leaves their door unlocked, that doesn't mean that just anybody can walk right in. On the other hand, if they leave their door unlocked AND have a sign on the front yard that says something along the lines of "OPEN HOUSE-WALK RIGHT IN" or "HOSPITALITY CENTER-STEP RIGHT IN" or something of that nature, you can't acc
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Putting aside the fact that running an unsecured network should also be a punishable offence in this day and age

      Why is running an unsecured network a problem, provided that the router is firewalled from the rest of the network so it can't access your personal computers/data? Ubiquitous unsecured 802.11 is useful and a heck of a lot cheaper than paying a cell provider $50+/mo for wireless data access.

      -b.

  • Don't go to Singapore looking for an easy Wifi connection... They don't tolerate your Western Decadence there.
    • Western Decadence (Score:3, Interesting)

      by glomph (2644)
      On my work trip to Singapore, I knew that chewing gum was not legal there. So I went to the local convenience shop, and of course there was no gum, but a large assortment of legal candies. As an internet tech goon, I was drawn to the little plastic box (similar to TicTac) with little purple sugar pills labelled "I Love Flash". Oh and those Singapore immigration landing cards are a hoot, with large red friendly letters "possession of drugs is punished by DEATH'. Of course the US is not THAT bad... [flyertalk.com]
      • by Yartrebo (690383)
        What do people do when they need surgery? Do they give them a bullet to bite on and hope they don't squirm too much? I can't imagine having having any surgical procedure done without sedatives.
  • What, is today Scary Jailtime Story Day or something of the sort?

    First, this story about a guy being jailed after he received a fake check and tried to cash it [sfgate.com] was reportend on interesting-people, then this story about a guy being arrested, because he had a rubber band ball that the TSA thought contained "something metallic" or drugs [flyertalk.com] (also on interesting-people today), and now this story on Slashdot.
  • "...now the unfortunate Tan Jia Luo is facing charges under the computer misuse act and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday."

    I wonder if the judge hearing this case will notice that larger-than-usual number of foreign hacks loitering around the building on Wednesday morning?

    Assuming this young lad wasn't up to anything that nefarious (that would derail a great bandwagon wouldn't it?) I hope this case gets some exposure and the lad gets some support.
  • by magarity (164372) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @12:38PM (#16814190)
    The problem is that while some people are clueless and don't secure their wireless, other people have a sharing nature and leave theirs open on purpose. How the heck do you tell the difference?
    • by ranton (36917)
      other people have a sharing nature and leave theirs open on purpose.

      I would be willing to bet that most ISPs do not want their users sharing their internet connection. Maybe there are some ISPs that forget to put something in their user agreement that forbids it, but I doubt there are many. People leaving it open on purpose are probably more prone to being in trouble than those who are doing it by accident.
      • by KillerBob (217953)

        I would be willing to bet that most ISPs do not want their users sharing their internet connection. Maybe there are some ISPs that forget to put something in their user agreement that forbids it, but I doubt there are many.

        Depends on the ISP, really. The big ones around here (Ottawa, Ontario) forbid it. Those would be Rogers and Bell Sympatico. The smaller ISPs that don't operate on a national scale? The TOS for my DSL connection through Magma specifically says that it's my own connection and I can do whate

    • by MP3Chuck (652277)
      I shall answer your question with a question: If you can't tell whether an access point is open for public use or open because the owner inadvertently (for one reason or another) didn't lock it down ... why would you use it, knowing the possible repercussions?
  • This case seems to be more than the usual, because the neighbor complained. As always the press article is near useless, but that suggests the arrestee went beyond simply using unused bandwidth.

    Every time one of these stories comes up, some people post with great certainty their opinion that using someone else's wireless connection is clearly unethical. Folks, please make your case more solid by answering the question of how you're supposed to tell a wide-open residential AP from a public access AP. For tha
  • Slow news day, huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LindseyJ (983603)
    Here's some more rediculously stupid headlines:

    Man wakes up, runs three miles, reports fatigue afterwards

    Clam chowder eaten in Maine. Witnesses report "extremely tasty!"

    American tourist in London says "These people have a funny accent."

    Birds all over planet still flying.


    I mean, come on guys. This is Singapore. Their legal system is so draconian it makes the Patriot Act look spectacular.
  • Disneyland with the death penalty.

    (With apologies to Wired Magazine)

  • TFA is sparse on details but this seems harsh. It is one thing to bypass WPA keys or other security, it is another to just enter a completely open network and just assume it was meant to be public. I hope this is the former and not the latter, in this case.

    As a business traveler, I have to rely on WiFi spots, and I don't always know the origin because they are "linksys" or some other generic name and I trust they were left open for a purpose. However, I never tried to crack any keys nor do I enter ones t
  • by biggomez777 (948763) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:16PM (#16814424)
    To all of you that say he wasn't doing anything malicious: how do you know? And are you using your definition of malicious or the owner of the WAP? If my connection was open(it's not) and someone wanted to check their email, I wouldn't mind. Someone else might. However, probably everyone would mind if someone slammed their connection with torrent traffic 24/7. It might be all "legal" traffic, but it would still be damnned annoying, and malicious in my book.

    The only real solution I see to this is to secure ALL wireless networks out of the box. It would keep windows from auto-attaching, and would make anyone logging into one liable if someone complained. The argument "well I didn't know I wasn't supposed to be there" goes right out the window. Then, if you decide to unlock your network, everyone knows that you meant to, and not that you're some fool that said "I want a wireless network! yay!" without knowing what that really means.
  • I was recently driving down a country road up in the mountains and the passenger and I had to use the bathroom so I took a side road that went about 15 feet and ended in a small forested clearing. We got out and did our business then 2 county police SUVs pulled up and after about a 45 minutes of threats and questioning we were both handcuffed and arrested on charges of criminal tresspassing II (Outdoor tresspassing) After spending the weekend in jail I was arreigned and got to read the police report. App
  • by eebra82 (907996) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @01:55PM (#16814700) Homepage
    The way I see it, if I open up an insecure wireless network, I also tell others that they too are invited to it.

    An open network is OPEN.
    A password-protected network is CLOSED, but open to those who have the password.

    If anyone hacks the password-protected network and bypasses the password protection, this is trespassing and misuse.

    I live in a large house with lots of apartments with many neighbors who possess such unprotected networks. What if my router is down and my laptop connects to one of these networks? Am I then going to prison, because I never noticed it? Hell no.
  • Its a trap?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12, 2006 @04:36PM (#16815950)
    The neighbor knew how to check if someone is using his wireless network, but doesn't know how to secure it? An open wireless network is an invitation for anyone to use it.

    Internet access through a wireless network that is probably connected to a ADSL modem has fixed costs. The guy really didn't lose anything. So he just doesn't want anyone else to benefit from something he has paid for.

    The charged teenager is 17 years old. The neighbor could have told his parents what he was doing and they could have told him to stop or take away his computer...

    Sounds like the neighbor wanted someone to use his network, so he could sue them.
  • by IchBinEinPenguin (589252) on Sunday November 12, 2006 @06:28PM (#16817004)
    of someone's life, then it's worth spending some time to harden it in the first place.
    Yes, what the guy did was wrong, yes he should be punished, but 3 years for the next best thing to entrapment?

    If you reported your car stolen after leaving it unlocked with the engine running and the keys in the ignition in a bad part of town you'd be laughed out of the police station.
    Stealing the car is still wrong, but surely you can't expect it not to be stolen under those circumstances. Doesn't that make it entrapment?

    Why is it that the IT equivalent of exploiting such gross stupidity is demonized?

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