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Wireless Networking Electronic Frontier Foundation Networking Privacy The Internet Your Rights Online

EFF Advocates Leaving Wireless Routers Open 686

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sounds-good-to-me dept.
SD-Arcadia writes "We will need a political and technological 'Open Wireless Movement' to reverse the degradation of this indispensable component of the Internet's infrastructure. Part of the task will simply be reminding people that opening their WiFi is the socially responsible thing to do, and explaining that individuals who choose to do so can enjoy the same legal protections against liability as any other Internet access provider."
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EFF Advocates Leaving Wireless Routers Open

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  • by chispito (1870390) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:19AM (#35963248)

    This obviously has benefits to society but comes at the cost of making your home network less secure - most routers don't separate the internet side of things from the home network side of things, so it's similar to allowing a person to connect their PC to your LAN socket. Any machines on your network are now visible to an attacker.

    Many newer routers support guest SSIDs that can have separate security settings, and are isolated from, your main SSID. My new Netgear router does this. What it doesn't do, unfortunately, is let me throttle the guest SSID.

  • Re:Oh hell no. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Thruen (753567) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:20AM (#35963284)
    Communism in it's purest form would work, the problem is we always have to involve people, and as we've all seen only people who will abuse power and use it strictly to benefit themselves ever have the drive to take a position of power. This is also why democracies, republics, monarchies, dictatorships, and every other form of government fail to adequately govern people; even when they start off well, bad people will inevitably take control and turn it into something terrible. No form of government, or lack there of as in anarchy, is inherently evil. It's people that are evil.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:27AM (#35963386)
    Even without the potential legal liability of having attacks, threatening e-mails, or child pornography traced to my router if I left it wide open to anyone who wanted to use it, why should I allow others to sap my bandwidth or help take my ISP into data caps?

    I pay for my internet service and my neighbors can do the same for theirs.

    I speak from experience. I allowed my next door neighbor to piggyback for "just e-mail and some web surfing". They seemed to be low on money so I helped them out.

    Then their house sprouts an HD satellite antenna and I notice my own Netflix streaming stuttering. It turns out they had gotten a DVR/DirecTV setup and were doing their own streaming. I blocked DirecTV and next thing I get is them asking me to help them fix their connection because their X-Box wouldn't connect and they wanted me to enable specific ports. Their X-Box would connect and it turned out the ports were what the DirecTV service rep had told them to make sure were open.

    They decided they wanted more bandwidth and were lying to me to get it. It pissed me off. I then configured QOS to limit their data rate to just what the X-Box needed to play online. They finally decided to pay for their own connection.

    It's just a pain in the butt and a liability to open up a wireless connection to anyone who wants on. I realize my story isn't exactly what this thread is about but it isn't far away. Leave your router open and people will just start soaking up bandwidth. With all of the streaming services out there, data rate increases are inevitable. It's easier to just not ever get on that merry go round and lock down your router.

    Besides, liability is far lower. Anonymous users have no accountability.
  • by clang_jangle (975789) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:49AM (#35963812) Journal
    Just be persistent in posting with your old account and in a few weeks you'll see the karma change.
  • by billstewart (78916) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @11:52AM (#35963900) Journal

    The push to eliminate guest wireless has largely come from ISPs, especially the cable companies, who don't want people sharing bandwidth with their neighbors instead of everybody buying their own connection. A few ISPs, such as Sonic and Speakeasy, actually encourage sharing and roaming, but the companies like Comcast that also are pushing bandwidth caps have been the main propagandists against sharing wireless, and they're also the people who didn't want you running a web server from home when the broadband business was getting started.

    On the other hand, sometimes there are actual problems. Back when I was running open wireless, I once got a call from my ISP saying they'd blocked half a million spams from my address overnight, and could I check that my computer wasn't infected? The computer was fine, but my neighbor's laptop had gotten infected and was blasting away over my wifi. Eventually when I upgraded to wireless-N I turned on encryption; unfortunately the wifi standards don't give you an easy way to have open access and encrypted connections, and I'd rather have the privacy.

  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @12:02PM (#35964074)
    Don't conflate 'the public' with 'the criminals' you've written about.
  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @12:23PM (#35964440)

    There is no such thing as a calm interaction with the police today. Around 50 police officers are shot every year just at traffic stops, and most of those are where they did not take immediate control of the situation - basically, they ignored their training. How would you expect them to deal with a public that wants to kill them?

    Ah, that old schtick. The truth is that in the US, police work doesn't even make the top 10 most dangerous professions. [yahoo.com]

    It may not be an easy job, but it is also not a particularly hazardous one.

  • by element-o.p. (939033) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @12:59PM (#35965018) Homepage

    ISP's don't give two shits what you do with your bandwidth, as it's not a server.

    Uh, yeah they do care, because they are overselling it to an absurd degree. Anything you do that makes it more likely that you are actually using the bandwidth that you purchased puts stress on their network. One of the major providers where I live is trying to build a system by which they can bill by usage, rather than by max download speed just to get around this problem. Keep in mind, most ISPs are loss-leaders for the more profitable services in a telco or cable company. The ISP typically loses money every month on Internet accounts, but since it is part of a bundled service, the parent company makes up the difference in residential, long-distance, and/or cellular telephone services; or cable TV, PPV, VoD, etc. Consequently, they have incentive not to build a better network than they have to, and the more you use that network, the fatter the pipes they have to build.

    Furthermore, some ISPs have in their AUPs a provision that says you can't run a server on anything but a business account (since business accounts are typically quite a bit more expensive than residential accounts). The other major provider in my area, for whom I used to work as a sys admin, was such an ISP. While most of the ISP admins didn't really care, the provision was in our policies, and I was aware of a couple of instances where we terminated peoples' accounts for reselling services off of residential Internet accounts. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to see an ISP interpret sharing an open WiFi access point as "reselling" a service (i.e., payment is in goodwill and/or karma rather than cash).

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