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Wireless Networking Censorship Crime Government Networking Your Rights Online Idle

Police Investigate Offensive Wi-Fi Network Name 890

An anonymous reader writes "Police in Teaneck, New Jersey, with apparently too much time on their hands, are investigating an offensive wireless network name. Although the police didn't reveal the name, the New York Daily News reports that it was anti-Semitic and racist in nature. The incident is being investigated as a possible 'bias crime.' It's definitely not what proper people do, but a 'bias crime?'"
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Police Investigate Offensive Wi-Fi Network Name

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  • Re:Name revealed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lostmongoose ( 1094523 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:00AM (#38760390)

    It's a shame the word "anti-semitic" has been rendered virtually meaningless lately. It used to mean something about hating or discriminating against Jews.

    Which in itself is a shame because being Jewish, on it's own, doesn't make one Semitic, and the Hebrew people aren't the only Semitic peoples who get hated and discriminated against. But don't tell an Israeli that. You'll be called anti-semitic.

  • by Radak ( 126696 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:06AM (#38760458) Journal

    FTFA: 'Police received similar complaints about the signal Friday during a "teen night" event at the center, the woman said she was told.'

    So, rec-center-owned wifi access point is found on teen night to have an offensive SSID. The likely scenario is that, with a bunch of teens there, many of whom are carrying wifi-enabled devices, one kid noticed that the AP was not password-protected (or possibly had an obvious default password) and decided to log into it and, well, be a dumb kid by changing the SSID to something that made his friends laugh.

    Password protect the AP. Lesson learned. Everybody move on.

  • by sugapablo ( 600023 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:10AM (#38760518) Homepage
    ...is if there was a target. Like if the WiFi signal was near a Jewish family's home, and let's say the family was named "Cohen". If the WiFi signal overlapped their home and was broadcasting an idea with a threat such as "CohensRKikes" or "DieJewScum" or similar, I can see a crime being involved. But just something like "JewsSuck" or whatever? I'm Jewish. Everyone hates us. It's just part of life. :)
  • by G3ckoG33k ( 647276 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:32AM (#38760808)

    Why "anti-Semitic and racist"?

    Why not only racist? Are _they_ racist? Are some forms of racism worse?

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:32AM (#38760818)

    You almost had a point there until you got around to trolling with the "people who respect the constitution" part.

    No, he's right on that bit too.

    Most people look at the Constitution, pick out the bits they like, and then hate on anyone who disagrees with the parts they like.

    This applies to both sides of the political spectrum, mind you.

    But there are very few who will say "yep, the Supremes ruled that Constitutional (or not), and even though I don't like it, they're right"...mostly it's "I don't like guns, so any ruling in favor of the Second Amendment is WRONG!!!" or "I don't think that States should be able to exercise eminent domain on your property then give it to someone else to make a mall, so it's WRONG!!!!".

  • by Kiralan ( 765796 ) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:33AM (#38760832) Journal
    Would this fall under the FCC's control of 'hate' speech in a broadcast, as they are 'broadcasting' the name to anyone with a receiver (aka a wi-fi adapter), or does it fall under the local municipalities' laws about public speech?
  • by binkzz ( 779594 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:39AM (#38760920) Journal
    While I would like to start with the disclaimer that I'm a Christian, your assertion:

    but receiving mostly reason and thoughtful discussion

    Is absolutely false. There are a lot of mindless bigots on both sides as well as reasonable intellectuals. Atheists aren't some elite group, who, through patient and thoughtful deliberation have come to an objective understanding of the universe and the people around them. Some might, but for the vast majority it's a belief system not unlike mot organized religions.

    Right now, in America, there are some self-named religious groups which push doubtful (and sometimes outright hateful) messages at full force while completely oblivious to anything else. Christwire scares me a lot, and I consider myself a pretty fundamental Christian. But in other countries it's Muslims or Hindus or even Atheists who lead the hate campaigns.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:49AM (#38761110) Homepage Journal

    I'm concerned about this "broadcasting" thing. Are they going to require we follow FCC guidelines concerning what we can "broadcast" on our wifi routers?

    And once they start controlling the "name" we can broadcast, how about the content we can "broadcast"? Will it be illegal to stream "pr0n" over WiFi because that violates FCC rules?

    And if a trucker on a CB Radio has his handle as "queer-killer", or makes a statement regarding how racist, or anti-semetic, or homophobic he is, are they going to investigate it as a hate crime? Or just some bored trucker mouthing off to fellow bored truckers?

    And why is CB radio protected free speech, but WiFi routers are not? Is it because the government and law authorities don't understand those scary computer hackers? Is it because anything more high-tech than a fax machine is misunderstood and feared by grey-haired fat white guys in suits that got elected only because they paid off the right people?

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:16AM (#38761466) Journal

    Indeed, quite the opposite.

    What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.

    -- Salman Rushdie

  • by Baseclass ( 785652 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:28AM (#38761590)

    I'd love to see your science that categorically disproves the existence of a God.

    Perhaps you can provide evidence that disproves the existence of leprechauns.

    The burden of proof falls upon those making the claim, not the other way around.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:45AM (#38761846) Homepage Journal

    If your particular ethnicity/gender/orientation was attacked with a well-known term that implied you'd be beaten, killed or worse in that neighborhood, you'd be right to feel shocked, hurt and harrassed, for good reason. Either you've had the privilege of never being intimidated that way, you just don't think anyone else should be protected, or you're a masochist.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:56AM (#38762028)

    I am a gun toting liberal. I love all the amendments. Liberals tend to dislike the 2nd. Conservatives tend to dislike all of them except the second.

  • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:56AM (#38762036) Journal

    Seriously? You think that the police are the ones who should deal with it in a way that doesn't let it grow into something worse?

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:58AM (#38762060)

    On another note, racism/sexism/etc will only exist as long as people get offended.

    Very true. In my own group, which is pretty ethnically diverse (in the interests of disclosure, I admit that we all have received a higher education), we occasionally use the racist terms of yesteryear among each other, not to belittle and demean each other, but more in a mocking way towards those that actually held those beliefs in the past. So when a friend calls me the "jew bastard" of the group, I know that there is no real antipathy there, it's turned into a term of endearment...although I admit that outsiders may not understand that.

  • by HopefulIntern ( 1759406 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @12:12PM (#38762306)
    An excellent point. In Norway, immediately after the Breivik attacks, this was a hot issue. Few people even realised there was a right-wing extremist community in Norway because, due to very specific racism/hate speech laws, any such discussion must be hidden from the public. Hence, online forums, closed from the public, hosted in the US, are where they gather in secrecy with only likeminded people to talk to.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.