Is this legal?

  Flak999 21:48 18 Apr 2005

Hi, i have a laptop with built in wireless connectivity, I was playing about the other day searching for different wireless networks, the computer found one and connected to it, now this is obviously somebody else's connection, windows reports the connection as firewalled but I am now able to surf the net, download and everything else using this connection.

My question is, is this legal? I cannot see the other persons C drive, and would not attempt to even if I could, but I am sharing his bandwidth, will he know? and if he does what can he do? Can he connect to my machine? Is all this a bad idea and should I stop?

  Al94 22:20 18 Apr 2005

This is obviously someone very close to you. Can't see that there is anything potentially illegal about sharing an unsecure wireless network as long as you don't access anything on another PC.
There is every possibility the person may not know unless they bother to check who is logged on to their network (shows the worth of allowing trusted pc's only to connect!) or they catch on that their download usage looks high or reach a limit they hadn't expected. The question is - is it morally right?

  The Spires 01:45 19 Apr 2005

What if person x whose connection you are using finds his/her speed to be low & then takes this issue up with his ISP at £1 a minute, after extended conversations & being unable to get the speed he is paying for changes ISP to no avail etc?

Likewise the security on my garage ought to be improved but that’s still no excuse for someone to pinch my mower. I feel using anothers connection is stealing.

  georgemac © 08:17 19 Apr 2005

morally using someone elses network connection is wrong - how would you feel if someone is usung your bandwidth allowance. I do not think it is illegal though.

I have came across this when setting up a wireless network for a friend - I found an unsecured wireless network which was obviously one of his neighbour's. I advised my friend to find out which neigbour it was and to get him to secure his network.

  Forum Editor 19:07 20 Apr 2005

via a network unless you have the netowrk administrator's consent, or that of the computer owner. Apart from that, theft of bandwidth (which is what you're doing) is also an offence.

Finding another wireless network popping up on your list of available wireless connections is an extremely common occurrence - especially if you live in a town or city. I currently have an extra one available to me, and when I recently set up a network for a client in the Notting Hill area of London I found no fewer than four additional networks within range.

  georgemac © 07:21 21 Apr 2005

never knew theft of bandwidth was actually an offence - surely it would be very hard to prove - won't the ISP will only have the address of the router - not individual MAC addresses of the PC's using the bandwidth?

  TomJerry 10:01 21 Apr 2005

it is an offence even it cannot be proved

generally speak, take something from someone else without permission is offence

By the way, it is VERY VERY easy to prove.

Wireless routers keep a log of net activities, it will be easily see all the connections, your laptop will be identified by its MAC address which is unique for a network card.

  Chezdez 11:20 21 Apr 2005

the router will store the MAC address of your PC in it's table (thats how routers work!)

  Nelmon2k 21:46 22 Apr 2005

It still cant be proved though if someone spoofs his mac to a random one

  Forum Editor 22:56 22 Apr 2005

doen't mean that it's OK to do it. Stealing another person's bandwidth is an underhanded thing in any case, and no decent person would do it.

  Flak999 23:24 22 Apr 2005

Interesting responses, I understand the point about MAC addresses, but still fail to see how this is any use, because the laptop by its nature is a mobile device and therefore is not tied to a fixed postal address also as it is connected via somebody else's isp and is sharing their bandwidth what use is the MAC address? It still does not identify the laptop or its user, or am I missing something?

I do understand the point about using someone else's bandwidth as being rather immoral, but theft? Rather difficult to see how you would go about proving this in a court of law.

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