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The Internet Wireless Networking Network News

Free Wi-Fi: the Movement To Give Away Your Internet For the Good of Humanity 505

pigrabbitbear writes "We are strangely territorial when it comes to our wireless networks. The idea of someone siphoning off our precious bandwidth without paying for it is, for most people, completely unacceptable. But the Open Wireless Movement wants to change all that. 'We are trying to create a movement where people are willing to share their network for the common good,' says Adi Kamdar, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'It's a neighborly thing to do.' That's right, upstanding citizen of the Internet, you can be a good neighbor just by opening your wireless network to strangers — or so the line goes. The ultimate vision is one of neighborhoods completely void of passwords, where any passerby can quickly jump on your network and use Google Maps to find directions or check their email or do whatever they want to do (or, whatever you decide they can do)."
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Free Wi-Fi: the Movement To Give Away Your Internet For the Good of Humanity

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @03:52PM (#42741217)

    I'd imagine that most ISP's specifically prohibit you from redistrubuting the connection. I know AT&T does:
    Section 10a - "a. No Resale. The Service is provided for your use only (unless otherwise specifically stated) and you agree not to, whether for a fee or without charge, reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, transfer, trade, resell, re-provision, redistribute, or rent the Service, your membership in the Service, any portion of the Service, use of the Service, or access to the Service, including, but not limited to, reselling capabilities enabled or used by a specific application (including, without limitation, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) via wired, wireless or other means. For example, you agree that the Service is not to be used to trunk or facilitate public internet access (“Hotspots”) or any other public use of the Service ,"

  • by Kurt Granroth ( 9052 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @04:00PM (#42741359)

    I'm not entirely certain why the article lists "siphoning precious bandwidth" as the reason most people would lock down their Wi-Fi. It seems highly unlikely that that would come into play at all, most of the time, much less be the main reason.

    No, there are three reasons why I don't have an open AP:

    1. Legal liability for a guest's action is spotty. Technically speaking, I know that I am not liable if a guest performs an illegal act using my AP. What's the likelihood that a police officer or prosecutor would give me the benefit of the doubt while investigating the crime, though? The most likely course of action is that I spend some time in jail or under arrest until my innocence is proven.

    2. My ISP TOS expressly forbids sharing the service. As long as they aren't doing deep packet sniffing (and they might be), it's possible I could set up the open AP such that everything is NAT'ed through a known server. The risk of doing so is getting my service cut off, though.

    3. Allowing a rogue agent in my network drastically reduces the security of the network. I could create a locked down subnetwork just for the open AP, but that would be a notable amount of work.

    So I have risks that involve jail time; termination of service; and/or loss of my personal data. What are the rewards? I feel good about helping my fellow man?

    Not worth it at all.

  • Re:Open network? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Defenestrar ( 1773808 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @04:02PM (#42741385)

    You aren't liable [] and you'll probably get a successful [] good [] free [] lawyer [] (well free to you) if anyone gives you grief.

    Worried about your door kicked in? I'd say it's your civic duty - and if my reasons aren't good enough for you, maybe you'd consider the optional counter-suits like winning the lottery

  • Re:Hypocrite (Score:5, Informative)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @04:10PM (#42741525)

    QoS gives packets different priority based on the type of data and net neutrality allows for that. What net neutrality doesn't allow for is differing priority based on the server; specifically, it doesn't allow you to treat packets from your servers preferentially and it doesn't allow you to blackmail other service providers for faster speeds. As for providing a guest with a slower connection than yourself, that is no different than an ISP giving different bandwidth speeds depending on your service level and has nothing to do with QoS or net neutrality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @04:33PM (#42741865)

    I was doing just this very thing for about 3 years. I even thought I was protecting myself somewhat because I put a splash page on the WiFi using nocatsplash with DD-WRT to display a page that says "Hey, I'm doing this to be nice. Don't do anything illegal, please." I thought at the worst I'd get a DMCA notice if someone downloaded a movie or something, but it was much worse.

    The FBI and ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) knocked down my door, pointed guns at us, confiscated all of my computers, interrogated my fiance and I for a few hours, they told my fiance that I was a pedophile and it nearly cost us our relationship. Seriously - when the FBI tells your fiance that you're a pedophile, it's hard to convince her otherwise. Some jack ass had apparently downloaded child porn using eDonkey/eMule over my wifi network. The FBI ended up returning most of my computers, but not all of them (I probably could have got them back, but I would of had to go to court to do it, and the computers were only worth about a grand). It also took almost a year to get that far. They also eventually told my fiance that I wasn't a pedophile.

    It was a rough fucking year.

    Don't do it. Keep your wifi locked down with as much encryption as you can. It's not worth it while judges are issuing search warrants based upon nothing more than an IP address.

  • Re:Bad idea. (Score:5, Informative)

    by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @08:34PM (#42744919)

    In general, though, the reason this movement will fail is the same reason why people want it to work. Selfishness. The same person that says "I would like to have wifi without paying for it when I am somewhere not home" has already said "I don't want to pay for my own 3g/data plan so I can have network access when I am not home". That same attitude would result in "why should I pay for network at home if I can get it free from my neighbor".

    I can't speak for others, but I'd consider providing free access to my wifi under 3 conditions:

    1) There is a brain-dead simple way to ensure that my internal network is secure from anyone using it as an open access point,

    2) a similarly brain-dead way to limit how much can be downloaded per open access client, and

    3) legal assurance that I was in no way liable for anything downloaded from my open access point.

    While the Open Wireless Movement (OWS - is that a conicidence?) could probably easily provide the first two, the third is a matter of legislation and thus is the real sticking point. I imagine there are many others like me that don't recoil at the very idea of someone "freeloading" and would be happy to provide a service to the community, but if I'm going to face any chance of liability for doing so, or if it's just a matter of being a PITA to set up, then it's not happening. If it were easy AND there were no potential legal consequences, I think you'd be surprised how many folks would *not* be that selfish.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972