Wireless Internet Piggybackers - BEWARE!!
Hey gang I ran across this news article this morning and had no idea that sitting outside a business using the "free Wi-Fi"was really illegal; especially if the internet system was not password encoded/protected.
I guess it is a felony charge and in this case the punishment was pretty heavy, felony charge on your record, $ 400.00 fine and 40 hours community service.....WOW and it was free inside the building with no purchase required......go figure!!
Just thought I would pass the information along as I often look for free Wi-Fi spots when traveling......guess I will be buying more coffee now ......oh by the way caffeine is bad for your health ....let's see fine, community service and a felony charge or health concerns....my my time to chunk the computer and go back to the stone age, ha ha NOT!!
Here's a post from a guy on another site I frequent quite often.....check it out, he has some good thoughts and ideas on how to handle this if you are ever caught in this kind of a situation!!
"This guy needed better legal advice before he went about his affairs in public.
At the outset, the complaint and police investigation were totally justified. His having parked there several times without leaving the car qualified him as a suspicious person worthy of police investigation.
First of all, he should not have been in a position in which an officer could have "stuck his head in the window" and seen what he was doing. Secondly, he should have shut the lid on his laptop. What he was doing with his computer was none of the cop's business any more than what book he might have been reading. Most importantly, he is not required to answer any questions.
The internet connection was free. Free is free. That the coffee shop did not (or could not) limit the signal to the interior of their premises is not his problem. He did not hack into the connection, it was freely available to him. While I am not familiar with the specifics of the law in question, that the state passed it and that the prosecutor made it appear to fit, neither makes it a good law nor a righteous prosecution. He was not "hacking" in the normal sense of that misbehavior. He is no more a criminal than looking across the street at a drive-in theater screen or opening your windows and listening to a nearby outdoor concert makes you a box office crasher.
His biggest problem is that he voluntarily waived his 4th and 5th Amendment rights. A close second on that list was his inability to find a better lawyer, possibly due to financial circumstances. As much as some malign the ACLU, this case is right up their alley. He allowed his ignorance of his rights and his fear of a felony conviction to overrule the exercise of his rights. More people are convicted of government intimidation than actual guilt. That the prosecutor was amenable to a much lesser plea might have been a clue into the weakness in their case.
He was railroaded by the system and he was ill-equipped to fight it due to his lack of familiarity with his Constitutional rights and failure to obtain adequate representation, perhaps due to financial limitations.
I am not anti-police. I was a cop. They have a job to do and they are going to do it to the best of their ability. They have no duty to inform you of your rights prior to arrest (Miranda) and they are not inclined to do so because it makes their job easier. Their job is to arrest people who break the law. If those people are willing to babble on about their activities, the police will simply note their comments and proceed with the information available. The police can lie to you with impunity, but lying to the police is a crime.
Martha Stewart lied to investigators and did 10 months. She was not convicted of insider trading as many believe. O.J. never said a word to the police and he's free. Take a lesson. This is not about doing something morally wrong, this is about breaking the law. There is a distinct difference between moral guilt (you did the deed) and legal guilt (you violated the law).
The important thing to remember is that little slogan that appears on the side of many police cars: "To Serve and Protect".
There are two words missing from that slogan. It should end with "The Government".
Generally speaking, cops are definitely "the good guys". That said, however, they are not there to look out for your rights and they have a job to do.
Often, that job is not what we expect during an encounter. I have seen participants in a non-threatening encounter touch a cop's arm to get his attention and get arrested for assault. HOLY COW! Who'd a thunk THAT?
When we were six, our mommies told us that if we were ever lost the policeman was our friend. We are not lost six-year olds anymore. We are all persons of interest unless and until something more important catches a police officer's attention.
"I want to speak with my attorney and I do not consent to any searches."
You can take that to the bank."