Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's WiFi

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Most laptop junkies have done it at one time or another: opened up the laptop in a high-density, well-to-do-neighborhood, and found unencrypted networks just waiting to be surfed. Will your neighbor ever know you're surfing on his dime? Probably not, as long as you don't download hours and hours of video and slow his connection to a crawl. Is it legal? Well, as it turns out ... it's not. Furthermore, according to Technewsworld, the law is murky enough in this area that if someone is borrowing your WiFi and doing something illegal on it -- pirating music, say, or downloading kiddie porn -- you could be liable. On the other hand, there are those who argue that $60/month/household for DSL is ridiculous, considering how painless it is to share a connection. Hence ShareMyWiFi.com, a kind of match.com for lonely (and budget-conscious) 'net surfers. It only makes sense, I suppose, in this infancy of the internet, that people would sponsor such workarounds. One day, perhaps, we'll all have municipal WiFi -- for a small fee, say $10/month for super-broadband -- just like we have trash pickup. We can dream. (Pictured above: a municipal WiFi router.)

April 16, 2007 - 10:00am
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