Kurt Ullman wrote: > In article , > DTC wrote: >> SSID on two is name of a pizza place and fast food place that >> intentional put in open networks - Those are open and free, >> but not blatantly advertised via SSID as free, i.e. there's >> no strong evidence they are free. >
Both places do not have any obvious customer facing signage or brochures (nor do I have I heard the counter staff says "Oh, did you know we have free WiFi here?").
However the WiFi police have taken it to a new level without regard if indeed it is free or not by detaining, investigating, arresting, charging, or fining people based on new state laws prohibiting WiFi use.
With the Scot Peterson case, the police chief took it on himself to charge Peterson even though Donna May, the owner of the Union Street Cafe didn't know there was a problem with people using advertising free WiFi.
If the signage says "Free WiFi", but fails to say "For paying customers only", then the user of the WiFi has a strong case for defense. If the sign says explicitly for customer use only, then its a simple theft of service.
Lets take it a step further. What if an over zealous policeman arrests someone in a parking lot for illegal WiFi access, never mind the fact the person was using his cellular aircard. That person goes to jail, presents the record his cellular data usage for his defense, case gets dismissed...local police department gets their Warholian fifteen minutes of fame for gross stupidity.
The celular brand name offers pay for use WiFi, the franchise uses unsecured WiFi. The consumer may not understand the company branded WiFi is pay for use, until they realize they can't connect. They can indeed connect to the franchise's closed, but unsecured WiFi without realizing they are not entitled to it.
The confusion was well voiced in the Peterson case by the Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Lynn Hopkins; "This is the first time that we've actually charged it...we'd been hoping to dodge this bullet for a while."
I'm not defending nor advocating the use of Wifi systems you don't explicatively own yourself, I'm simply pointing out they grey area people venture into.