Friday, March 23, 2007

Free to mooch

Yesterday, I switched on my Office Notebook at home to do, what else, some work. This involved my signing into my office's e-mail system, so internet access was required. No problem, I have had a wireless network running in my home for ages. But I was shocked to note that my wireless connection was hooking up automatically with one named 'linksys' instead of my wireless router, which of course, has a more meaningful name.

Curious, and alarmed, I called up the wireless networks list and sure enough, I was riding on an unsecured access point. In fact, there were more than 10 wireless access points listed, some of which were unsecured. I am a bit disturbed that wireless users still keep their access points totally unsecured even after the high profile court case of a 17 year-old moocher in Singapore, who was convicted of using his neighbour's unsecured wireless internet connection. Do these people with unsecured wireless APs expect to make use of the publicly-funded DPP's time to prosecute violaters?

There was an ensuing debate about whether, essentially, the law was an ass. Shouldn't the person with the wireless access point secure it in the first place, failing which his connection should be considered free for all? Indeed, I find it increasingly harder to justify the law that says riding on an unsecured wireless access point is a crime. Often, it is more a life-saver and a great convenience because it allows us to stay connected via e-mail and other wireless devices, albeit without paying a single cent. Tell, me, Mr Judge and Mr Public Prosecutor, when you are in a remote location with your Notebook and you find a 'free' wireless internet connection, would you refuse to use it? Really? Honestly?

I believe that it is up to the owner to secure his/her access point failing which that access point should be considered free to use. As the law says, ignorance is no excuse.

Sue me.

1 comment :

Lam Chun See said...

I think technically it is an offence to mooch but heck, if somebody does not bother to secure, we must assume he doesn't mind.

Its just like the waste bin we leave outside our house. If a passerby decides to discard rubbish into it, should I be bothered? But if I am worried that he discards some really nasty stuff, then I shd do something about it - at least put a warning sign of something.