Like many in the tech community, I found it rather disturbing that someone could be arrested, and then charged with stealing a WiFi signal. What a complete waste of taxpayer resources. I believe (hope) that the judge who sits on the bench will throw out the case.
If you decide to water your lawn and turn on your sprinkler, and the run-off travels across the sidewalk, off of your property, and enters the drain, and then I come along and start to collect that water and put it into a bucket, you can’t convict me for stealing your water. I never entered your property, never took a step onto your lawn, I simply never trespassed.
WiFi works the same. If you have a wireless connection in your home, and that connection spills over onto the street, how is that any different? While the signal, like the water, originated from your property, it has also left the property and entered into public property. In fact, I could say that when your signal leaves your house and enters my house, you are trespassing. So why not start arresting homeowners with WiFi?
Now the guy was arrested for unauthorized access to a computer network. But if you use the water analogy, while I’m taking water that is still connected to the stream which originates from your home, I’m clearly in public space and am not violating your water network. Would the Florida police arrest me for unauthorized use of a waterway? It’s absurd.
The police clearly overstepped their bounds here. Granted what this guy did might have crossed into the area of tactless and rude, but if you don’t want to share your wireless signal with the world, password protect it and possibly don’t broadcast your SSID. And if you don’t want people using your water, build a moat.
Any other lawbreakers?