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Electronic Frontier Foundation Wireless Networking Your Rights Online

EFF And Others Push For Open Wifi APs Everywhere 253

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the feels-so-dirty dept.
netbuzz writes "Forging ahead with an initiative that proved controversial when introduced last year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and nine other groups today are advancing the Open Wireless Movement to encourage ubiquitous sharing of Internet access. 'We envision a world where sharing one's Internet connection is the norm,' said EFF Activist Adi Kamdar, in a press release. 'A world of open wireless would encourage privacy, promote innovation, and benefit the public good, giving us network access whenever we need it. And everyone — users, businesses, developers, and Internet service providers — can get involved to help make it happen.'"
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EFF And Others Push For Open Wifi APs Everywhere

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  • First... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mitreya (579078) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ayertim>> on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:29PM (#41825219)

    We envision a world where sharing one's Internet connection is the norm,' said EFF Activist Adi Kamdar, in a press release. 'A world of open wireless would encourage privacy, promote innovation, and benefit the public good, giving us network access whenever we need it.

    The person sharing their connection has to NOT be concerned with being successfully sued.
    Some judges realize that IP != person, others do not.

    I lived with roommates, and it was somewhat of a concern that the "owner" of the internet account will be the one responsible for anything that may get tied to that IP address.

    • Re:First... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hawkinspeter (831501) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @08:22PM (#41825715)
      I currently run an open wireless SSID as a guest connection and I am not concerned with being sued. Here in the UK, I don't think the law has yet been tested that you are held liable for someone else's actions. To my mind, if there's something suspicious about what "my" IP address is downloading, then they have to find proof that I'm responsible (e.g. files on my computer).

      It's so easy these days to set up a secure internal wireless network and also a guest open network with appropriate bandwidth limits that I'm surprised that more people don't do it. I'm not concerned if people are freeloading as long as my connection isn't noticeably slowed down. I've got unlimited bandwidth, so why should I care if someone uses a little bit of it?

      So far, I've not seen anyone camping outside my house so that they can download stuff and I've not noticed any high usage, so I think that most people tend to be reasonable with freely offered services.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
        To my mind, if there's something suspicious about what "my" IP address is downloading, then they have to find proof that I'm responsible (e.g. files on my computer).

        And to do that, they confiscate all your devices. You may get them back in a year or two.

        most people tend to be reasonable with freely offered services.

        Yes, most people are responsible. It is that other small percentage that is the problem.
        • Re:First... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tokolosh (1256448) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @10:22PM (#41826507)

          most people tend to be reasonable with freely offered services.

          Yes, most people are responsible. It is that other small percentage that is the problem.

          I submit that the unreasonable percentage is vanishingly small. I am sick and tired of the child molester trope. If all systems were open (and mine has been wide open for years), then we would not be discussing this nonsense. Grow a pair, America!

          Spartacus

          • Re:First... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by brit74 (831798) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @01:58AM (#41827461)

            I submit that the unreasonable percentage is vanishingly small.

            Well, you're wrong. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of college students. They avoid paying for anything if they can get away with it. The result? If you leave your wireless network open, you might have six or seven different people on your network at the same time. Even worse, unless you're a little tech savy, you won't know why you can't stream video off the internet (hint: it's because they're streaming internet or pirating content with bit torrent). Your internet experience will suck if you don't password protect your internet.

      • Re:First... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mitreya (579078) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ayertim>> on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @08:37PM (#41825873)

        I currently run an open wireless SSID as a guest connection and I am not concerned with being sued. Here in the UK, I don't think the law has yet been tested that you are held liable for someone else's actions.

        Here, in the US (several years ago), my roommate had received a threat letter for downloading a movie soundtrack. Her options were

        a. Go to court and pay who knows how much money

        b. Settle and pay 3K-5K right away

        She took option b. Fortunately, she was the one downloading the soundtrack -- but she obviously didn't have to be. Even with a protected router, it was a total of 3 roommate students living in the apartment (and there is only one cable hookup, so separate internet account was not really an option). I have no idea why my OP was modded funny.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          She actually has more options than just those two.

          (1) Contact the EFF.

          Tell them: "Go ahead and sue me. I can prove that it wasn't me," or something to that effect. Most of these copyright trolls are not even remotely interested in suing anybody. It costs too much. And the only case they have won so far was one in which the defendant admitted everything. Result: you walk.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        I don't think the law has yet been tested that you are held liable for someone else's actions.

        It has. You are not responsible.

        That applies to both civil and criminal cases. For example if your car is caught speeding while someone else was driving they are liable, not you. If they can't be identified then that's too bad.

        In a civil case of copyright infringement the burden of discovering who was pirating material is on the copyright holder. The courts have so far suggested than an IP address is not enough to secure victory, there has to be some other evidence pointing to the individual. That is very d

    • by ls671 (1122017)

      Think of yourself as a provider, cops do not sue your providers. I share my connection but I log everything like your provider does so I can prove who did what. It isn't worst than a hotspot at MacDonald's or at the airport, they don't get sued either.

      The show stopper is the billing model is use currently. For this to work, Internet access has to be basically free or a complex credit system would have to be put in place.

    • If someone on your network DDoSes my server, I will sue YOU for being negligent for letting some fuckwad on YOUR network.

      Then once I find out who that fuck wad is, i'm going to go after them too.

      It's like how a license plate != person. But if you lend someone your car, and they hit and run and abandon it, you're on the hook.

      • Re:First... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @10:34PM (#41826589)

        "If someone on your network DDoSes my server, I will sue YOU for being negligent for letting some fuckwad on YOUR network."

        Haha. Good luck with that.

        Not, it's NOT like lending someone your car. Automobiles are a unique situation. The law that makes you responsible if somebody commits a crime with your car applies ONLY to cars. It doesn't apply to ANYTHING else.

        If I loan you a gun, for legitimate reasons (or so I thought), and you go out and kill somebody with it, I am NOT legally responsible.

        Same with a router. Or just about anything else... except a car.

        • Re:First... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @10:35PM (#41826599)
          And I should add: even those laws that make you responsible for somebody else doing damage with your car, are on very shaky legal ground. If you hunt around, you will find that those laws apply only to cars. And it is very questionable whether they should even apply to cars.
  • So long as... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:34PM (#41825263)

    ...the EFF is willing to back me up with unlimited legal support when the FBI comes knocking at my door because my next door neighbors turn out to be pedos, I'm all for it.

    • Re:So long as... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mitreya (579078) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ayertim>> on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:45PM (#41825365)

      ...the EFF is willing to back me up with unlimited legal support when the FBI comes knocking at my door

      Note that unlimited legal support helps but it is not going to protect you in all cases. Hard to prove a negative (i.e. that it is not you), and with child porn cases presumption of innocence has been loooong gone

      Not to mention that such accusation (defendant in a court case) is more than sufficient to get you fired from your job and disowned by your friends.

      • by cffrost (885375)

        Not to mention that such accusation (defendant in a court case) is more than sufficient to get you [...] disowned by your friends.

        They were never your friends.

      • "Hard to prove a negative (i.e. that it is not you), and with child porn cases presumption of innocence has been loooong gone"

        Not so at all. As I mentioned above, I read recently about a child porn case in which the police used trickery to find out who it was. They had his IP address, but no judge would sign a warrant based on an IP address. So they had to resort to other methods.

        It is getting more and more common -- almost universal now in the US, in fact -- for judges to reject warrants that are based only on an IP address.

      • by SSpade (549608)

        And if you are trading child porn, of course you'll have an open wifi access point and blame it on the sketchy guy with the laptop in the van...

    • ...the EFF is willing to back me up with unlimited legal support when the FBI comes knocking at my door because my next door neighbors turn out to be pedos, I'm all for it.

      I hope you didn't plan on giving your kids any kind of unsupervised access to the internet either.

      Because in my jurisdiction at least, I'm fully liable for what my kids download (even without my permission), but I'm not liable for what my neighbors download (at least, not yet anyway).

  • by Rossman (593924) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:35PM (#41825283) Homepage

    How do they think this will work in a world where we're all getting dinged for bandwidth? If connections were still unlimited, great, but otherwise this is a bit of a non-starter.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Of all the significant issues with this idea, that's not really one of them. It should be fairly trivial to set up rate-limiting either on bandwidth or total traffic/month, say if you have a 250 GB cap then say 25 GB max should be plenty for people who are just in the neighborhood - not including any neighbors that want to leech from you 24x7.

    • by c0lo (1497653)
      Wasn't this supposed to be somehow alleviated by the mesh networking side of the Freedom Box?
      Errr... what box?
  • by JonathanCombe (642832) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:36PM (#41825291)
    It's a nice idea but with the law as it stands if I open up my connection and someone uses it to download copyright music or films (or worse) it will be me that gets the warning letters, the police knocking at the door or gets my connection cut off. And anyone wanting to commit an on-line crime is far more likely to do it using someone elses connection than their own.
  • If they give me legal support after someone misuses my connection, then I'm into it.
    • I see that the fear reflex is a barrier - but think it through! Ease of access puts fewer roadblocks in terms of nodal connections and the potential exists to even eventually apply a truly different concept to what we understand to be the 'structure' of the Internet. The carriers were given huge regulatory breaks in 1996 to implement high bandwidth but found they could make more money with a choke hold on throughput. The 1996 Act was supposed to foster competition, but instead mergers occurred. the larges
  • ...under the premise that no individual can be held responsible, by any kind of state of the surveillance or police type, for what others do. But wait. Let's turn this argument around. If technology did exist to ensure that no individual could be held responsible for what either he or others do, then this would be quite the act of opposition to the states you and I live in: Western European states, the USA - i.e. surveillance and police states.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      If technology did exist to ensure that no individual could be held responsible for what either he or others do, then this would be quite the act of opposition to the states you and I live in: Western European states, the USA - i.e. surveillance and police states.

      You think it would be a good idea if nobody was held responsible to the law? Do tell me where you live while I put on this assassin's invisibility cloak, ah the wonders of technology.

    • by murdocj (543661)

      Wait till you live in a real police state, like the former East Germany, where various "friends" that you talk to are on the Stasi payroll. Then you can start complaining about "police state". In the meantime, you can enjoy the freedom to discuss politics and disagree with the government if you live in Western Europe or the USA... something that people in Russia, China, and lots of other countries don't have.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:49PM (#41825401)
    Before the US court system says you're liable for everyone on your connection, getting free internet was great. You'd go to any place in the city and have a chance of getting wifi. Then for some reason by the law enforcers, this was hated, and they even started hunting "unsecure" locations with cantennas. I'd love to go back to the day where I can go into the city and find internet for free without having to trek to a store.
    • Uh... what? Not only is the vast, vast majority of the "encryption trend" due to default encryption on new routers and the fact that all devices now support proper encryption, not legal fears, but when did cops start shutting down open WiFi? I'm sure I would've heard about that on Slashdot.

      No, the wardriving sheriff sending letters doesn't count because there was no threat, just information. It turns out that having open WiFi is a bad idea for many reasons, regardless of how nice it is for everybody else.

  • ISP (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:53PM (#41825437) Homepage Journal

    And everyone — users, businesses, developers, and Internet service providers — can get involved to help make it happen.

    That just made an executive at an ISP laugh really, really hard.

    • Re:ISP (Score:4, Interesting)

      by terbeaux (2579575) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @08:42PM (#41825905)
      I use MonkeyBrains.net. When they came to install my point-to-point wireless connection they left an open AP called "monkeybrains". It is balls slow but they put one in that piggybacks on my link (below network layer). My neighbor also uses the service. When his home server went down and he was restoring his 5TB backup over his residential wireless connection they sent him and email and asked him about his spike in usage. He explained to them what was happening and they said that the wireless connections weren't really meant for that type of use. Then they invited him to bring the machine down to their office to plug it directly into a switch. The only reason why the "executives" from MonkeyBrains would be laughing is because they love the idea and the EFF. Local ISPs are pretty awesome. Setting up a WISP can be done with relatively low overhead using a cooperative model.
  • It's not as risky as you might think.

    When I lived in SF I set up my home network to provide free wireless to the coffee shop at the end of the block.

    QOS routing prevented guest bandwidth from interfering with my own. I put the wireless thing outside my firewall to protect my network.

    Occasional casual monitoring suggested that no-one abused the network from either a bandwidth or content point of view. And the only thing it had protecting it was a "please don't abuse this or I'll take it down" welcome message.

    TL/DR: Most people are basically good, so it (like wikipedia) works and isn't abused as much as you might thing..

    • 1) SF isn't the norm. There's a different mindset there than in Houston or Topeka or Fargo.
      2) Do you think the setup you mentioned is something everyone who buys a $40 router at Best Buy or calls the phone company to "turn on the Internet" could manage? That's what the EFF is proposing.
      3) Was the coffee shop a non-profit? Were you an investor?
      4) If Wikipedia is an example of how good everyone is, why do they have such a strong protection policy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Protection_policy [wikipedia.org]

    • So you'll only occasionally be accused of pedophilia. Good to know!

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:58PM (#41825491)
    If we continue to treat internet access as a commodity to be purchased rather than a public service - this will not fly on a large scale. Outside of a few generous individuals and companies that stand to benefit from expanding access - this is an uphill battle. The question is, when access is such a lucrative source of income for telecom companies and pressure against government provided services is so high in the US, would a publicly funded "access anywhere" campaign have legs?
    • In Germany, or better: in Berlin the Freifunk movement [freifunk.net] started like 10 years ago. The movement around mesh networking protocols spread all cross Europe and from there also to developing nations. The technology is available, the only remaining problems arise from liability risks. Berlin is going to launch a city-wide Wifi service soon. The Pirate Party strongly advocated for Piratenfreifunk [piratenpartei.de], that is rebranded Freifunk technology. We also need to fight for good unlicensed spectrum. The Prague based OpenSpectr
  • Hard data caps. Q.E.D.
  • Leaving my Wifi open somehow encouraging privacy? Is the EFF doing lines of koolaid they forgot to drink or something? How is it encouraging privacy to open my network to the world. If anything, that sounds more like I'd be losing my privacy, not getting more of it. I encrypt my network to encourage and promote my privacy.
    • "Leaving my Wifi open somehow encouraging privacy?"

      It's not intended to promote privacy. The Open WiFi project is intended as a public service... to help your fellow man, not to make your life more private.

  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @08:10PM (#41825599)

    In the state of Florida, it's illegal to have an open wireless access point. I know 'cause Slashdot reported it. So you can ignore all the worries about possible content. Opening your AP is itself illegal in some states. It wouldn't surprise me if there are other states as well.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The man in Florida was arrested for unauthorized access to a network or computer, a felony. When you deliberately open up your network for others to use their access is authorized and the law doesn't apply.

    • That may well be but you know, the rest of the world is moving on. Your politicians and regulators are free to get bribed by the telcom lobby, I don't care. It is your nation, your state and it is upon you as a citizen to accept it or fight for freifunk technology including civic disobedience. As Gorbatchev famously said in Berlin in 1989: When you arrive late you get punished by life.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @10:28PM (#41826551)
      Solution: Set SSID to "Have You Tried 'password'?"
  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @08:14PM (#41825635) Homepage Journal

    You know how everywhere you (in residential areas, mostly) you see APs with names like '2WIRE123' (to pick just one) all the time? Or out in public, 'attfreewifi' at McDonald's, Starbucks, etc.? AT&T (and the rest) should configure their residential products to have, say, 10% of your total bandwidth optionally made available with a separate standard SSID (like 'Free2WIRE' or something) that is separated from your main network. (So strangers can't print, browse shared resources, play 'Macarena' through your AirPort Express, etc.)

    ISPs who are also cell providers (like AT&T) will be happy to save some cellular bandwidth. Yes, they like charging for big plans and overages (and tethering, and everything else they can think of, the greedy bastards) but they really do want to save relatively expensive cellular bandwidth also. As they tell me via text every time I approach my limit for the month, "Tip: Mobile Data is unlimited over WiFi."

    It would also save you from having to ask friends with secured APs what their password is. A) it's a bit of a pain, B) it's a bit awkward, C) if they're serious about security they won't want to share it in the first place, and D) if it's long and complex it's REALLY a pain.

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @08:28PM (#41825787)
    I would, but I really do not trust some of those nearby. I have the bandwidth to spare, and the tech chops to wall off open access from the rest of my home network. But some of those who live nearby have proven themselves to be non-trustworthy. Mostly elder teenage foolishness, but I do not want to have to *prove* it was not me that did whatever idiocy they committed.

    Any investigation would start with me, being the named owner of that ISP account. The cops investigation has to start somewhere, and I'd rather it not be me.
  • by ras (84108) <russell-slashdot@s t u a r t.id.au> on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @09:05PM (#41826039) Homepage

    They may get what they wish for as it's happening already, but when it arrives it they will come to realise it wasn't what they wanted.

    There are already companies that allow you to re-sell your access point bandwidth. It's not rocket science. They just provide you with a router than is also a captive portal. You get to use it for free of course, but if foreigner logs into it they charge them for the bandwidth and split the fee with you. In fact most paid for captive portals operate on this basis already.

    In theory this should be a win-win for everybody. It sending a byte over a land line generally costs between 1/10 and 1/100 of sending the same byte over a commercial 3G/4G network. So the mobile user gets cheap ubiquitous data and the land line owner gets to make a little money on the side.

    In practice, right now, that isn't how it's working out. Somehow these captive portal operators manage to make data on these networks more expensive than the commercial 3G/4G networks. But one day someone will figure out how to make it work, and on that day a new competitor the current 3G/4G networks will arise, and it will be in the form of millions of 802.11 microcells dotted around the country. I bet they know it's coming, but don't have a clue what to do about it. They will find themselves in the same position as music publishers, newspapers, TV - except in this case it will be a case of the internet eating its own.

    As I said, even though I consider this almost a long term certainty and it is what the EFF is asking for now, it isn't what the EFF actually wants. The EFF wants open access points so people can send and receive information anonymously. In this new world order every access point will be open, but every byte will be paid for, and thus tied to a credit card.

  • by ODBOL (197239) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @09:10PM (#41826073) Homepage
    I have offered free open wireless Internet to my neighbors and passersby for many years, with no problem. Occasionally, I see a car parked in front of my house to use the connection. It's the good neighborly thing to do. Those who are more stingy and/or fearful need not follow suit, but they need not spew negative speculation about those of us who do. Bruce Schneier, security expert, does the same. https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/01/my_open_wireles.html [schneier.com]
    • Man, I don't know why I didn't put it just that way myself. You're spot on.
    • Exactly. Same here. I guess maybe some people live in areas where selfish neighbors make it impractical, but I can be happy that I don't live in one of those areas.

      My open WiFi has been going pretty much constantly for 4 years now, with no real problems.
  • by Penurious Penguin (2687307) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @09:10PM (#41826077) Homepage Journal
    On my little consumer-grade cisco* router I have dd-wrt installed. It has quite a few options. I can set up a Hot Spot, allocate bandwidth, restrict access, adjust the txpower, and so on. I've never gone so far as to set up a Hot Spot, but I'm quite sure it would be easy enough to have a user-agreement wall. I'd be just as comfortable with something like that as I'd be with WEP. And then there's OpenDNS and such.

    And I'd find it strange that government, which seems to operate on utilitarian principles, would fail to see the "greater good" in providing positively-used access to far more people than the fewer who'd comprise the abusive. Regarding the FBI (or others) raiding homes because of abuse, it seems in most situations a more hypocritical rather than critical response. In 'my' town, some beast had been out on his boat while connected to an open AP at one of the nearby condominiums. He'd been doing nasty things, apparently. The FBI raided the unit of the condo AP in the middle of the night, nearly killing the innocent couple by shock. Odd that they couldn't have sniffed the waves first and perhaps deduced a remote host. As advanced as they are, and for all their budget, they sure seem primitive sometimes. I have my doubts though.

    I think we can see how well our post-911 hysteria has worked for us. Everyone's a terrorist now, but hardly anyone is terrorizing. We're spending enormous amounts of liberty and money on departments and agencies that are primarily self-serving. Departments like the DHS are bridging dangerous gaps between the DoD and local law-enforcement. And for all the collective efforts of our militant angelic protectors, safety hasn't increased much. We're petrified of bogeymen, yet we fill the role ourselves through social indifference and mainstream-media-administered xenophobia. It's mildly ironic that we're petrified that our networks will be abused for pedophilia, but we now lend our children without hesitation to the TSA. The yield of fear is golden indeed.

    Self protection is good, and I'd not advise every soccer-mom to open their WiFi necessarily; but I can't see any benefit in building our society on principles of fear and self-imposed disadvantages, especially while so many viable sources for fear are above, not below the law.

    And finally, the typical ISP competition duopoly between two gluttonous villains is not so great for many people. It's expensive, and many broadband (FIOS) subscribers never use much more than could be offered by DSL. And take note; in my area, DSL is not offered -- only cable or FIOS.

    But playing the social board-game of Divide & Conquer is fun enough. After all, we're all our own unique snowflakes, and we should emphasize it as much as possible. Anything else would result in hippies, pirates, pedophiles, communists and zombies taking over our streets, eating our children and using our toothbrushes.
    • I can set up a Hot Spot, allocate bandwidth, restrict access, adjust the txpower, and so on. I've never gone so far as to set up a Hot Spot, but I'm quite sure it would be easy enough to have a user-agreement wall.

      Why not? I know why I haven't. But you seem to be in favor of the concept. Almost definitely you will have no problem. Almost.
  • I can be reasonably sure that my ISP and their upstreams aren't going to be injecting malware into the Slashdot pages I view. I might trust a coffee shop or a hotel. I'm not sure I want to routinely connect to random access points though.
  • by ensignyu (417022) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @09:40PM (#41826245)

    I'd like to provide public access, but I don't want trolls and other idiots getting my IP banned everywhere or criminally investigated. What I'd like to see is some kind of VPN-only / proxy-only access to the Internet. The idea is that I'm giving you access but not identity.

    You'd be required to proxy through either your own server (ssh/openvpn), the Tor network, or some kind of commercial VPN/proxy service. I mean, you ought to be doing that anyway. All common ports, *especially* http/https, would be blocked.

    That doesn't stop someone from ssh'ing into their hijacked zombie computer in Russia and using that to launch an attack, which could still lead to a criminal investigation if they didn't cover their tracks properly, but at least it'll hopefully stop the sysadmins and bots who assume "IP address == person responsible" from reflexively laying down the banhammer on my IP or suing me for allegedly sharing The_Hobbit_An_Unexpected_Journey_4K_xvid_LEAKED_plus_soundtrack.rar

  • having recently gotten my internet shut off without warning for going over my usage limit (after having the account for 4 years), i don't see how this is going to work.

    The ISPs have given us a limit, usually about 250gb, and honestly, that isn't enough. I'm not going to share my precious bandwidth with others, considering I've already been disconnected from 1 of the 2 ISP I can subscribe to in Seattle. Yes, much like politics, I get 2 choices. Centurylink and Comcast. And now I have only 1 choice.

    Wh

    • If you weren't watching your traffic, to the extent that your 250GB limit was exceeded (I use the internet A LOT, and that's a pretty generous limit), then it's your own fault.

      If you don't have decent router software, you can log into your account on your ISP's site and see your usage so far for the month.

      It's easy. So you really have nobody else to blame.
  • by xonen (774419) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @10:07PM (#41826415) Journal

    I'd love to do so. I've played with the thought many times. Why not just an open wifi. I have reasons to do so, like friends bringing a smartphone. Like other strangers, just looking for map directions or whatever they do online. Personally i'd love to if other private parties in our city did as well - as currently open wifi is only available near our library (during opening hours) and a single pub.

    However. Legal obligations and practice, make me responsible what happens over my internet connection. So, to get a reasonable plausible deniability on that, i'd have to go to real investments like, for example, by sharing a FON spot. If FON was a pure software-based solution, i'd done so already. However, it requires hardware. That i'd have to pay for, admittingly, it's not much. But on the other hand, i do not need 2 wifi stations at my home. Or have a 3rd party in control over my connection.

    If there was a _simple_ way of logging. Like, a prefab solution, preferably installable on my wifi dsl modeml/router, i'd do so to. But, to run my own server, surging 200W, just for the sake of providing free wifi services, with all more or less obliged logging just to warrant myself from legal stuff.. That's a bit too far stretched. Not in the last place because of electricity and mainterance costs.

    So, i totally agree with the EFF. I'd really love to. I'm also all ears for a wifi 'mesh' network, etc. But the legal practice is that i'm responsible whatever goes over my internet connection. Wether being 'illegal' downloads, illegal porn or illegal messanging, current laws in my current country, and probably laws all over the world, tell me this is a very bad idea. Sooner or later it'll get me into trouble. Which makes generousity having a high price.

    Concluding. It's both a legal and a software issue. If there was a reasonable easy software solution that would allow me to do so, i would. I hate telco's and their mobile rates. I totally believe that if i, and everyone, would just open wifi the world would be a nicer online place. But i admit. I'm just a coward.

    • "However. Legal obligations and practice, make me responsible what happens over my internet connection."

      No, they don't. Look it up.

      If you innocently "loan" someone else the use of some equipment, and they commit a crime with said equipment, you are not liable for their criminal acts.

      The sole exception is an automobile. In some cases you can be held accountable for something someone else does with your car. But to the best of my knowledge, if you are not aware of the other party's illegal activities, that is the ONLY exception.

      • I should qualify that: in the United States, you are not liable for somebody else's use of your internet connection, as long as you were not party to the illegal activity yourself.
  • HADOPI (Score:5, Informative)

    by manu0601 (2221348) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @10:42PM (#41826631)
    The MPAA/RIAA will fight that like hell. They probably already have a law for that just waiting to be lobbied through congress. In France, they managed Sarkozy's governement to pass HADOPI [wikipedia.org], which include a 1500 euros fine for unsecured WiFi access. Of course this is just unaplicable, and nobody has been convicted yet despite country-wide law violations, but still, they have a weapon.
  • Let random strangers use your Internet? Once again I'm reminded how Americans live in a completely different Internet from the rest of the planet.

    Here in Australia/NZ, we have monthly data usage caps. If you go over your 10 or 20 GB per month... absoutely nothing happens to your Internet speed, except you get a nice extra bill at the end of the month. $1 per gigabyte, usually.

    Yes, I'm going to open up my WiFi point for everyone to download terabytes of illegal torrents which I have to pay for. That'll work.

  • by FoolishOwl (1698506) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @11:47PM (#41826975) Journal

    I was surprised last year when I first saw an article from EFF suggesting that we open our wifi networks. I did see some reason to support what they were suggesting, but I was also anxious about opening up my LAN, weak as wireless encryption may actually be. Since then, I bought a new wireless router, which does make it easy to offer separate WLANs with configurable levels of access to each other. I see TLS being used more widely. I've learned a bit about VPNs, and set up OpenVPN on my router. And, I read the article others have mentioned in this thread, that Bruce Schneier, who both knows more than I do and has more to worry about, doesn't bother securing his wireless, since it's really not the security vulnerability that it's made out to be.
    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/01/my_open_wireles.html [schneier.com]

    But most important, I worry that a lot of the structure of IT, and especially IT security, tends to foster an individualistic and cautious outlook that needs the balance of the considerations of fostering community. Of course, offering security advice is a service to the community, but it's worth arguing for something that explicitly supports an open community, now and then.

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