Real Cases
First Conviction Handed Down for Wi-Fi Freeloading Apr 02 2006 11:02PM
Michael Painter (tvhawaii shaka com)
From JiWire Weekly Wire:

First Conviction Handed Down for Wi-Fi Freeloading

Hot on the heels of our stories about Wi-Fi freeloaders and how to avoid them, comes the first formal conviction of a person
piggybacking on an open Wi-Fi network without the owner's approval. David Kauchak was caught in the middle of the night sitting in
his car accessing the Internet through a Rockford, Illinois non-profit agency's Wi-Fi net. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced
to one year of court supervision, and fined $250.
It's interesting to note that Kauchak was not accused of using the network for nefarious purposes or breaking into the non-profit's
computers, but simply using the network without permission. The violation was also not based on the principle that freeloaders are
stealing from the service provider (as with cable TV bandits). The implication was that if Kauchak had had permisson to use the
network, he would have been fine. However, most DSL and cable modem end-user agreements specify that you can't share access or
provide public access, so the first conviction on those grounds has yet to appear.
What does all this mean for home network owners and independent hotspot providers? Home users now have some recourse if people are
stealing their bandwidth, although local statutes vary. More importantly, hotspot providers (free or paid) should make sure they
have business-level Internet access that allows them to operate a hotspot, or possibly face severe consequences.

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