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Stealing air waves

  1. Apr 17, 2007 #1


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    Listening to a radio show this question came up.

    Should it be a crime if some one logs on to your wi-fi connection?

    In the UK we have to have a licence to receive tv signals, even
    though it is only the bbc ,one of many broadcasters that benifit,
    we have to pay even if we do not watch bbc programs.

    If apples fall from a neighbors tree into your garden they are legaly
    your property.

    Could it even be a crime to read a news paper by the light from
    some ones unshaded window?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2007 #2
    I have no doubt that in England all those things you've mentioned will soon be illegal.

    or better yet .. taxed.
  4. Apr 17, 2007 #3
    Sorry I misunderstood what I should understand

    Since yesterday, my mind has become tired from time to time, I don't want to think about it,
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  5. Apr 17, 2007 #4


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    Wifi "theft" is illegal in Singapore, at any rate. Newly formulated law, and people already being prosecuted under it.

    Dumb law, if you ask me. A lot of WLAN cards are preset to find and connect to unsecured WLANs automatically, so if your neighbour has been a stupid git and you're an unsophisticated or careless user, voila, instant law breakage.

    So what isn't illegal? Wardriving without connection shouldn't be illegal, but Singapore has a history of writing the law vaguely and enforcing it willy-nilly, so they can probably get someone for this. Not tested yet, though.

    Then again, if you're knowledgeable enough to wardrive for the fun of it, you should know how to spoof your MAC address before activating your stumbler app and take simple common-sense measures to avoid suspicion (not remaining in one location too long, not following the same route with regularity, and not keeping any sniffers or WEP/WPA crackers on your wardriving rig because those things strongly suggest illegal activity).
  6. Apr 17, 2007 #5


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    WEP/WPA cracker, wardriving rig :confused: I am so not a techno.
  7. Apr 17, 2007 #6
    I like your straight, sincerity !
  8. Apr 17, 2007 #7
    Its not against the law AFAIK, if you dont secure your network, its your own problem. Also in the UK we dont have a license to receive signals, we have a license to OWN a TV.
  9. Apr 17, 2007 #8


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    The difference between wireless internet and TV (or, for that, reading a newspaper over someone's shoulder) is that by receiving TV signals you're not impeding anyone else's ability to. Using their wifi will slow down their own access.
  10. Apr 17, 2007 #9


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    WEP and WPA are the main encryption techniques for wireless internet connections.
    The term "wardriving" comes from the actual driving around in a car with a laptop searching out for internet connections in the air to use. You're just looking, not using. Using would be piggybacking.
    I think spoofing means your machine is posing on a network as another machine, which disrupts normal flow of data, putting it all through your machine. Sniffing is when a machine separate from the intended destination reads data being sent on a network, and this does not alter the normal flow of data.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  11. Apr 17, 2007 #10
    Yeh it can mean that within the context of Arp spoofing, typically means you are faking something. Sniffing is hard to do on wired networks due to the nature of how switches work, but in wireless networks its much easier.
  12. Apr 17, 2007 #11


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    And the money goes to the BBC, same thing really, even if you some how made it impossible to get BBC channels you would still have to pay.
  13. Apr 17, 2007 #12


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    It's the same in Italy, you have to pay a special annual tax for each tv in your house, even if you don't use it. They actually have people that go around town checking for tv antennas to find people that aren't paying. My friend in Italy pays for satellite service and still has to pay the government to have a tv.
  14. Apr 17, 2007 #13


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    It brings to mind the (window tax) in the Uk, out of all the things that are taxable surly the (airspace) around you should be free.
  15. Apr 17, 2007 #14
    Well yes and no, legally u need the license for the TV not for receiving the Transmission. You could in theory pickup just the sound somehow and listen to the bbc tax-free :smile: OR like I do right now, watch it in a foreign country TAX-FREE
  16. Apr 17, 2007 #15
    Same in the UK, and in Belgium and many European countries.
  17. Apr 17, 2007 #16


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    True, and that's why I don't think it's unreasonable to make it illegal from that perspective; it is stealing a service that they paid for so you can get it free, just like tapping into someone else's cable TV line. The problem, however, would be enforcement. How would someone who knows too little about wireless to secure their network know how to figure out who is tapping into it?
  18. Apr 17, 2007 #17


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    This is true, I have had several letters telling me i do not have a tv licence and the dire consequences if i have a tv without one, the letters tell me, that some one will be calling to check , this has been on going for 14 months now and i am still waiting, they are rather spoiling my fun, (a house without a tv impossible) but true
    My way of thinking is that ,anything grabable in your airspace is fair game to grab, i mean one does not leave a front door open with an invite to be robbed.
  19. Apr 17, 2007 #18
    my case,
    Right after to day, tomorrow checking my house becomes useless since I have to move, so on one hand, they waste their time, on the other, it's because address can't be found etc. The last month of my cable bill I am out of charge illegaly.
    Well, that.
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