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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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  • Legal obligations? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @03:44PM (#42741045)

    Until the laws are changed to annul my responsibility for freeloaders on my wifi, I won't have it open. I'm not about to take any legal risk.

    While I like the idea, it's not practical to me.

  • Pay for trunk lines (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JeffSh ( 71237 ) <> on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @03:45PM (#42741073)

    I am not necessarily going to hate on this, but doesn't the idea kind of undermine the subscriber model of service delivery? One reason we can achieve the individual speeds we do is because of over subscription of available bandwidth, it's not as though each residential customer is actually buying the bandwidth they receive, and so that is how the provider pays for infrastructure to provide the global access they do. Isn't the eventual endgame scenario of this to be in effect undermining itself?

    The only way it would not be is if:

    1. per subscriber rates were to increase
    2. some open source movement to supply trunk lines between point of presences... not sure how that will work out..

  • Two issues... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slasher999 ( 513533 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @03:47PM (#42741115)

    Fair usage based on your agreement with your provider likely prohibits this meaning you would be in breach of contract and subject to cancellation, at least here in the US, and rightfully so in my opinion. Secondly, sounds like something the child porn perverts would love to see happen to assist them in evading detection while they prey on our children. Sorry, I won't be participating in this. Ever.

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

    by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @03:53PM (#42741231)

    Easy to fix. If you want to access someone's WiFi, you log into the proxy server on that network.

    This token may be sent via email, SMS, or determined from the comptuer's MAC address. From there, the WiFi host is protected, but they can still track down the person trying to view the Little Lacy Surprise Pageant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @04:09PM (#42741511)

    Not sure about home insurance, but I know here in Canada that isn't true of vehicle insurance. My father had his truck stolen with the keys in the ignition. The insurance company tried to convince him that he wasn't covered because of that, but after about 6 or 7 rounds of intimidation from the insurance company they finally relented and admitted that stealing is stealing and it didn't matter how it happened. Now if he wouldn't have been so stubborn they would have won and my dad would have been left without his payout.

    In the end, the truck was his property and he did not give permission for it to be taken. That is the crime. It's no less a crime if it's easy or hard to steal. Now if he had put a sign on it "free to a good home" and someone took it then that would be different.

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

    by mea2214 ( 935585 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @04:48PM (#42742063)
    I've been running an open wifi for over a year with no problems so far. I have a dual ethernet linux box running iptables with a set of white listed ports allowed through. My wifi routers are mere access points all switched on a single subnet to the linux firewall. Over time I looked at generated traffic and opened up ports various devices use for legitimate services like 993, 587, 443 etc. I block all UDP ports except 123, 4500 and 500. Some services, like iCloud, like to abuse the network using UDP. streams. That along with all unauthorized port traffic gets dropped (using -j DROP) into the bit bucket -- the device deserves no response from the firewall. Bittorrent simply doesn't work in this environment out of the box (although I acknowledge it's possible a determined someone could rig something to make it work but people who know how to do that are rare and it's probably not worth their time because I'll probably eventually catch them). I also detect bad SSL sessions by monitoring the first pushed byte sent over whatever TCP ports I leave open. Tcpdump runs constantly and I have some perl scripts to analyze the traffic and create reports of usage. This allows me to see if some new legitimate service needs a port open or if devices are trying to abuse the network which gets them banned by perl script. Skype doesn't work either and I have found it to be a particularly obnoxious service making it look like Bittorrent. Anyone pounding on Skype to get it to work gets banned by IP address. And all port 80 goes through a Squid proxy. Granted a determined user could get around my bans for awhile but for the most part I have found the real obnoxious actors are bad services like Skype and iCloud. And for the most part people use port 80 for web and 443 for encrypted stuff.

    So far things have worked out and I get around 250 unique visitors per month. The vast majority of users just get on, do some stuff like check mail or train schedules and get off. I have been doing this more or less as a "science project" to see how these modern devices communicate. Plus the neighbors get Internet access. I have found the bandwidth used per month is rather trivial. I just recently got a tablet with just wifi and so far have had no problems with anything not working through my iptables with white listed ports.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford