Saturday, June 24

Wi-Fi Scavenger Charged with Theft

A 20-year-old guy in Vancouver, Washington, has been accused of "theft of services" by a local coffee shop because he never gave the store any actual business.

Allegedly, he just sat in his truck in the parking lot for Broad Awakenings and utilized their free Wi-Fi without ever going into the store and purchasing a drink.

While the techie in me would like to make the case that he did nothing wrong by piggybacking on a service that is offered free, it is obvious (though the article says nothing about whether the coffee shop has explicitly posted anything to this effect) that the service is for customers of the store at which it is provided.

I'm looking forward to the city-wide free WiFi that Earthlink and Google have partnered to provide in cities across the country, but until that happens we still have to be aware that Internet services are still distributed via private enterprise.

Wireless Freeloader Charged Because He Never Bought Coffee - TechWeb


Harry J. Sachz said...

Yeah, I read this article a few days ago and had similar thoughts to your 'techy response'... Without having a sign that explicitly states "Free Internet with purchase of Large Coffee", I dont see where their complaint has any validity... If they're so concerned over loss of their bandwidth, there are many alternatives to filtering out this "freeloader" by forcing daily passwords (inquire within), or even charging a very small fee for hourly use...

The term freeloader doesn't exactly apply here - any more than taking candy during halloween, grabbing a free brochure, or drafting behind an SUV on the freeway... They offered a free service, and they're complaining that someone is using it.. You can't have it both ways Mr. Coffee Business... Uncontrolled wifi is public domain and foreign use should stay that way, until you get into the 'hacker' argument...

"It's not right for him to come and use it."

Boo Hoo :'( Change the way you provide the service instead of complaining to the police... They have more important things to do than clean up your shortcomings...

paulmerrill said...

I'm thrilled that Nairobi finally has some coffee-shop free wifi. I haven't been able to go over there (as traffic is SUCH a pain here), but I hope to go soon.

Enjoy what you got, where you got it.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by emailing the author (use the link above).

The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.