Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Use non-password-protected WiFi node, go to prison?

Declan McCullagh alerts us (in his PoliTech Blog) to an intersting, albeit troublesome, story in the St. Petersburg Times (Florida) which explains how a man was arrested for using a wide-open WiFi residential node from the street in fornt of someone's home. Although it is a little unsettling that a war-driver is eerily sitting in his vehicle in the street, in front of your home--it is somewhat troubling that using a an insecure WiFi access-point would warrant arrest and criminal charges.

As Alex Leary writes in the St. Petersburg Times:

Richard Dinon saw the laptop's muted glow through the rear window of the SUV parked outside his home. He walked closer and noticed a man inside.

Then the man noticed Dinon and snapped his computer shut.

Maybe it's census work, the 28-year-old veterinarian told his girlfriend. An hour later, Dinon left to drive her home. The Chevy Blazer was still there, the man furtively hunched over his computer.

Dinon returned at 11 p.m. and the men repeated their strange dance.

Fifteen minutes later, Dinon called police.

Police say Benjamin Smith III, 41, used his Acer brand laptop to hack into Dinon's wireless Internet network. The April 20 arrest is considered the first of its kind in Tampa Bay and among only a few so far nationwide.


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