WifiWhile many of you may see no harm in using someone else’s WiFi Internet over an unsecured network, it is in fact illegal! Even further, you could get arrested and fined for it! I’m sure you’re thinking, “but if they’re stupid enough not to secure their network, why shouldn’t I be able to use it?” I’m sure some of you have even snooped around your neighbor’s unsecured network before? You just happened to notice that their connection wasn’t secure so you decided to take a peak around?

With wireless broadband Internet a common thing these days, it’s not unusual to be able to pull up several different wireless networks from your home, depending on where you live.  This is why it’s important that you first and foremost secure your own network, but secondly, realize that it’s illegal to piggy-back off of your neighbor to get free Internet.

How’d you like to get arrested for stealing Wi-Fi? As odd as that sounds, it happens.  One perfect example of this came out of St. Petersburg Florida in July of 2005.  A man was arrested on charges of “unauthorized access to a computer network,” which is a third-degree felony. This guy actually made the act obvious though, after he pulled his SUV into a stranger’s driveway and sat there with his laptop visible. The homeowner noticed this and called the police.

If you’re in dire need of a connection, it’s not that difficult to find a legal, free alternative. Many restaurants, coffee shops, and cafe’s offer a free connection. Instead of “borrowing” from the nearest home with a WiFi connection, or your neighbor, just head on over to your local Panera Bread or even McDonald’s to get your connection. There’s no need to break the law! Oh, and did I mention to secure your own network?

There Are 11 Comments

  1. “Third Degree Felony.” Dang! The US has strict punishments for all the wrong things. Minor infractions that don’t do much of any damage like using someone’s WiFi or downloading music are heavily enforced. Coming into this country illegally isn’t even a felony!

    • You are getting a little too broad with saying “the US”.
      It is a 3rd degree felony in the State of Florida, it is implied consent and not even illegal in the State of Tennessee.

  2. netster007x wrote:
    “Third Degree Felony.” Dang! The US has strict punishments for all the wrong things. Minor infractions that don’t do much of any damage like using someone’s WiFi or downloading music are heavily enforced. Coming into this country illegally isn’t even a felony!

    Immigration… wow, this topic could open up a gigantic can of worms right now. Yikes! And yes, strict punishment for something like this.

    • I think all that netster007x was attempting to convey was a comparison between 2 actions, from 1 end of the spectrum to the other. Using an internet connection, to most people, would seem relatively insignificant, compared to crossing international borders. Sometimes depending on the crime, like drug trafficing, crossing an international border turns it into a federal case.

  3. A hot topic for us. [fulldisclosure.net] is trying to get the arrested immigrants charged with conspiracy to smuggle themselves into the country.

  4. I wonder if stealing WiFi would be as big of a deal if people never used it to do something illegal, such as download music? I think if the owner doesn’t have it secured, it is their own fault. It’s like leaving the front door of your house unlocked…if someone steals your stuff it is partly your fault for not making the effort to secure it.

  5. Go sheriff Joe! I’ve never heard of him before, but that site said he’s doing some pretty good stuff. People like him and the Minutemen are heroes.

    If you’re using someone’s WiFi for something really criminal, like identity theft or fraud, then I understand the need for a heavy punishment. But if someone’s just borrowing the WiFi to check their Email or even download music, I don’t think it should be a big deal.

  6. “Third Degree Felony”…you can get away with manslaughter or neglecting a puppy to death for less than that (I’ve seen it happen). Our government really needs to get their priorities straight.

  7. Is it illegal though if it is a protected network and you stumble upon the password. if you know the password than aren’t you supposed to be able to access even if you just stumbled onto the password. the password is usually administrator or the same as the SSID, on the less secure wireless networks. to me they are just asking to have their internet borrowed. I always make sure that i do it with public (government owned) buildings like schools though.

  8. I think it’s stupid how the US government focuses and cracks down on WiFi stealing, music sharing, etc. and lets serious crimes/felonies go by without a second thought.

  9. marshalandcourtney

    Speaking of stealing wifi. Me and my girl were just chillin down the road from my house and the house that we were stealing the wifi from the guy that lived there called the cops on us for that very reason. I had two warrants and no license i also violated my probation.the cop ask for both of our names and birth date and shit ran our shit and told us to have a good night. I was brain fucked about all of it..

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