Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Free wi-fi?

Here’s an ethical question for you. Is it OK to regularly glom onto someone’s (company or individual) wireless Internet access without them knowing it?

That’s the latest poll question at the Great Lakes Geek site.

I see no problem in using a connection once or even twice in a crunch time situation, as long as you’re not sending/grabbing huge files and hogging all their bandwidth.

I know some would argue that since it’s out there in the ether and the people were too inept to secure their access, then it’s OK. I’m not so sure of that. Someone is paying for that access and to routinely use up some of their bandwidth doesn’t seem right.

I might be more forgiving if a company’s access was used rather than a family who just doesn’t know to secure their wi-fi. But still, I think the regular use of such access is wrong. What do you think? Let the Geek know.

1 comment:

steveg said...

The new wifi ettiquette that came from a beer discussion at the first national summit of community wireless networks was that if the ssid of an unsecured access point is the out-of-the-box default, such as linksys, 2wire, default, etc; then we should bypass connecting. If however a unique or personal ssid is on an unsecure access point, go right ahead and connect. The logic is that if the owner knows enough to change the ssid name, then they know enough to set a WEP key. It infers that the owner is willing to share bandwidth.

We also concluded that if we can find who the owner of the default AP is, we as responsible geeks should let them know they have an open spot and offer to show them how to secure it, if they wish.

I agree with you Dan, the privilege of using OPN (other peoples network) is one that we should enjoy responsibly and not to abuse with spamming, pron video, and other large resource hogging downloads.

We don't want to lose the ubiquity of free wifi, do we?