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Thread: Hot Spots, Roaming and "Free" WIFI

  1. #1
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    Default Hot Spots, Roaming and "Free" WIFI

    Let me preface this with, "I am not an expert on the subject". In another post my brother-in-law, RCWhit, commented that he was sitting in front of a coffee shop (not the one in Vassalboro) "stealing" their WIFI. I stated in that thread that to the best of my knowledge it wasn't stealing if they didn't have it secured. Someone else stated that it is, but from the ISP not the WAP owner. Maybe what I had heard was in relation to businesses who offer WIFI hotspots. Anyone have any clarification on that? If I go to Panera Bread in Augusta and sit in my truck connected to their WIFI is there any reason they can say I'm stealing. I can understand if I find someone's unsecure WAP and use their connection to the internet since it wasn't intentionally set up for use by others but I'm really wondering now about the hotspots they set up for that use.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustKev View Post
    Maybe what I had heard was in relation to businesses who offer WIFI hotspots. Anyone have any clarification on that? If I go to Panera Bread in Augusta and sit in my truck connected to their WIFI is there any reason they can say I'm stealing. I can understand if I find someone's unsecure WAP and use their connection to the internet since it wasn't intentionally set up for use by others but I'm really wondering now about the hotspots they set up for that use.
    I've been following the subject of WiFi for years, and in fact have tried to establish a listing of WiFi hotspots to be posted here. The project died for lack of input.

    But you'll find little in the way of guidance on the subject, just opinions like you'll get from me. But IMHO, you've got a line between wireless access which is purchased as a commodity from an ISP for the use of the purchaser, and public networks which are offered by a business and, we assume, for the use of their customers). But some locations actually list themselves as PUBLIC WiFi hotspots. Park outside the Solon Town office or the Coolidge Library in Solon and help yourself to their WiFi network. They were established (by me) as public hotspots and are identified as such.

    So is it illegal to park outside Panera Bread and use their WiFi? Good luck finding a definitive answer! LOL!

  3. #3

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    Hmmm...interesting. In my opinion, there are two separate issues here. If the company (in this case Panera) advertise that free wifi is available, then it's not stealing. (Shouldn't matter if you are inside, outside, or sitting on the roof) If a person is out wardriving, searching for any and all available signals (company and residential) to exploit on a published list, then I have an issue with that. I manage several signals, two are wide open, one is locked down and purposely named, "Area 51." Just because a person doesn't understand how to lock it, doesn't mean that they want a yard full of cars surfing. On the other hand, they need to learn or ask how to secure it.

    We had a car that used to come every night at the same time....park across the street in the same exact spot. He got a couple nights free wifi, but he was soon encouraged to move on.

    .02
    Last edited by Cache Maine; 11-30-2009 at 08:20 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cache Maine View Post
    If a person is out wardriving, searching for any and all available signals (company and residential) to exploit on a published list, then I have an issue with that.
    Just to clarify - the intent of the effort to create a WiFi hotspot listing was to identify PUBLIC WiFi hotspots: public libraries, etc. Not unsecured private wireless networks.

  5. #5
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    Unity
    Unity House of Pizza
    Corner of Main and School Street

    Offers: Free Wi-Fi . . . and wicked good pizza (but it's not free). Oh yeah, Hiram also is making me mention that they also have Guiness on tap which makes him happy.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  6. #6
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    Sep 2009
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    Unhappy Steeling WYFI??

    Hi all! got my internet running today! I was being funny (I thought!) when I said I was steeling WYFI. We were inside having supper. I think that the free wyfi is something to lure people inside to but stuff, but if it's not secured I'm sure they know there will be some people that will use there WYFI without buying anything. The customers that they do attract with the WYFI far out way the ones that sit out side and use it for free.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighterjake View Post
    Oh yeah, Hiram also is making me mention that they also have Guiness on tap which makes him happy.
    What other beers do they have on tap? Do they have Stella Artois?

    I went to Whole Foods in Portland today (had to take RULost2? to the airport...)
    Sheesh! What a great beer selection they have! Not large, but plenty of brands you don't see in this area. I bought a 4-pack of Hennepin (Brewed by Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown, NY. We toured their brewery a few years ago, and it's a great tour. Second only to the Moosehead Brewery in St John, New Brunswick.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhereRWe? View Post
    What other beers do they have on tap? Do they have Stella Artois?

    I went to Whole Foods in Portland today (had to take RULost2? to the airport...)
    Sheesh! What a great beer selection they have! Not large, but plenty of brands you don't see in this area. I bought a 4-pack of Hennepin (Brewed by Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown, NY. We toured their brewery a few years ago, and it's a great tour. Second only to the Moosehead Brewery in St John, New Brunswick.)
    I'm not sure Bruce . . . I only see Hiram drink Guiness and an occasional Budweiser when he's trying to be healthy . . . and since they no longer sell Woodchucks (the only alcoholic drink I occasionally imbide . . . and it's rare . . . probably for a reason . . . ask Hiram or Connie about Camp Jakeawana sometime . . . I'm not sure what other beer they have on tap.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  9. #9
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    Not that my 2 cents worth amount to much, but if connected through WYFI that is not protected, you become a guest of that person. To me it's no different than if they invited you inside to sit down at their computer. Would you call that "stealing" from the internet provider if you were invited inside instead of invited to use their WYFI?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcwhit View Post
    Not that my 2 cents worth amount to much, but if connected through WYFI that is not protected, you become a guest of that person. To me it's no different than if they invited you inside to sit down at their computer. Would you call that "stealing" from the internet provider if you were invited inside instead of invited to use their WYFI?
    In the summer, I keep beer in a mini-fridge on my deck. Since I don't lock the fridge, could you walk up and help yourself, because it's no different than if I invited you in for a cold one? Because it isn't locked CERTAINLY doesn't mean that I've invited you to use my property. LOL!

    This debate could go on forever, and I don't think the legality has been settled.

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