I was listening to episode 59 of TWiT and they got into a discussion on open public wifi. They didn’t go into much detail on if it’s right or wrong to use an open wifi network. Leo made his stance known that he thinks if the network is open it’s not stealing to use it.
I was listening, while jogging, so I had the time to over-consider the concept and I’ve made my decision. Using an open wifi network IS STEALING. I’ve got many points backing up my logic. First, somebody is paying for that service. Did you get permission to use it? If not, then you have no right to use it. The person/business that has left the signal open might not mind you using the network access, but without asking you’re just stealing.
Another thought I had was the idea that you have “stumbled across” the free wifi. Kind of just found it in the street, if you will. And if you think of other things, that people own or have paid for, and might leave in the street how would you feel about picking them up/using them/taking them. If you find a car unlocked in the street can you just use it/borrow it without asking? What if you find a wallet in the street? Is it yours to take and have what’s in it? Probably not, with the wallet. You’d most likely try to contact whoever the wallet belongs to and return it.
Anyhow, I’m not saying that I haven’t and don’t use open public wifi when I stumble across it, without getting permission first. I’m just saying the logic that, “hey, they should have secured it, they should lock it down,” isn’t probably good enough to use the connectivity. I’m guessing the lawmakers will take a stance on this and it will make the topic even more interesting.