This incident takes the notion of stealing wifi to a whole new level. A serious example of how addicting data can be. I guess he could not wait until the local library, or Walmart, opened in the morning where he could get some free data.
Great post Isamorph, We've ridden on the idea that available wifi open connections are open. It is a good question, If the wifi connection is open/available is it legal/ ethical to use it.
When wifi first started. Routers did not automatically set a password. Result was 90% of routers were open
Another instance of the law needing to adapt to changing technology.
The young man, when in court, may claim in defense of his actions that Freedom Pop made him do it.
When we first got DSL service, we intentionally left our router open so that neighbors might piggyback. Video streaming wasn't common then, and we had more bandwidth than we would use. We secured our router when video streaming and internet gaming did become more common, and the bandwidth we had could no longer support our minimal use, plus our neighbors more intensive use. Although we never offered piggybacking to anyone, or discussed it, it was pretty apparent which neighbors had been piggybacking-- the houses where telecom and cable company trucks showed up in the next week or 2. (We also did no banking or financial matters on our computer at that time.)
KentE mentioned piggybacking. It seems to me that a person could work out a handshake agreement with a neighbor whereby the neighbor would pay half of the monthly internet cost in exchange for use of the person's wifi, and the ISP would not be cognizant of this happening, for if a person has a wifi LAN and agrees to supply the password to a neighbor, would not the neighbors wifi devices just appear as devices on the LAN? Or just set up a guest network on the router with a different password. Could this be discovered by an ISP?