Internet For Free

March 27, 2006

There was a fleeting moment the other night while setting up the wireless network connection of my Tivo when I actually considered tapping into my neighbor’s open wireless networks. There were, afterall, two of them to choose from aside from my own. They likely belong to neighbors on either side of me, but there they were on the screen, broadcasting their SSID. I quickly dismissed the thought and patched into my own home LAN.

This raises an interesting question, though: In the booming age of broadband, when both technology and the users of technology lack the sense or tools to maintain security, what is the moral responsibility of a knowledgeable network guy in the neighborhood? Do you knock on the doors in your area and tell them their network is exposed to the rest of the world? Or do you leave them out there in the open to fend for themselves? Obviously, there are potential legal implications to consider–hacker is a word that comes to mind. Maybe an annonymous note is the solution.

There was a fleeting moment the other night while setting up the wireless network connection of my Tivo when I actually considered tapping into my neighbor’s open wireless networks. There were, afterall, two of them to choose from aside from my own. They likely belong to neighbors on either side of me, but there they were on the screen, broadcasting their SSID. I quickly dismissed the thought and patched into my own home LAN.

This raises an interesting question, though: In the booming age of broadband, when both technology and the users of technology lack the sense or tools to maintain security, what is the moral responsibility of a knowledgeable network guy in the neighborhood? Do you knock on the doors in your area and tell them their network is exposed to the rest of the world? Or do you leave them out there in the open to fend for themselves? Obviously, there are potential legal implications to consider–hacker is a word that comes to mind. Maybe an annonymous note is the solution.

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