While many people believe that tapping into someone else’s wireless network is a harmless activity and has no downsides for the wireless network’s owner, in reality there are indeed negative consequences and therefore the practice cannot be considered ethical. Courts have determined that joyriding on another’s wireless network is a case of trespass against the owner’s router because this action could cause harm by slowing down the speed of the network and/or by introducing viruses into that network. The person tapping into someone else’s Wi-Fi also causes harm to the Internet Service Provider. These companies are in business to sell access to the Internet. Using someone else’s account without their authorization denies companies their rightful profit.
There is also the potential harm that comes because someone doesn’t secure their Wi-Fi. It allows unauthorized access and in some cases allows firewalls and filters which have been established for security and safety particularly for minors to be evaded and ignored. In...
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Kashi, J. (2004, May). Wireless insecurity. Law Practice Today. Retrieved September 27, 2008, from http://www.abanet.org/lpm/lpt/articles/tch05041.html
Kern, B. (2006, March 1). Whacking, joyriding, and war-driving: Roaming use of wi-fi and the law. The Computer & Internet Lawyer. Retrieved September 16, 2008, from Gale database.
Marriott, M. (2006, March 5). Hey neighbor, stop piggybacking on my wireless. New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2008, from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/05/technology/05wireless.html?_r=2&ex=1163394000&en=33084aa17e24f649&ei=5070&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Snow, N. (2006). Accessing the internet through the neighbor’s wireless internet connection: Physical trespass in virtaul reality. Nebraska Law Review, 84, 1226-65. Retrieved September 16, 2008, from Lexis Nexis database.
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