tell me the legalities about open wireless networks

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by dorkultra, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. dorkultra

    dorkultra OT's resident crohns dude OT Supporter

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    so, i work for an ISP (i'l remain unnamed)...soon they will be doing site surveys looking for open wireless networks that are our residential internet

    i saw the equipment, its basically a yagi and a laptop, i'm not sure of the exact software. they said it was linux based, so likely backtrack3
    so, i would imagine that they would need to connect to the network before they could determine the public ip address that the router has as a gateway.

    i can understand the ISP's standpoint of losing money with open wifi networks. also, we shut down customers if they download the wrong stuff. sometimes they have an open network and a neighbor is leeching torrents or something off of it. we are warning them and suspending service, also threatening to cancel service - but we will not cancel service because we need the customers. instead will we educate them on how to secure their wireless router.

    i'm wondering about the legalities of this. i realize that since we own the network, connecting up wirelessly to grab a public ip to determine if its our service is somewhat of a gray area. however if that person had another ISP and we connected up to their open wifi, we likely would be breaking the law

    i'm waiting for them to fuck up and find an open wireless network at a coffee shop with a business account and shut them down by accident
    just wanted to know what OT had to say about this
     
  2. DAN513

    DAN513 OT Supporter

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    Unless the law is being broken by the customer or someone using the customer's internet connection, I wouldn't support this. I'm sure it's a gray area when it comes to legality, but I still don't agree with it.
     
  3. 5Gen_Prelude

    5Gen_Prelude There might not be an "I" in the word "Team", but

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    Even after all this time, it's grey. It generally falls back to what was the connection being used for. The ISP should be looking at its TOS and ensuring that there is a line in there about "reasonably protecting their connection to the ISP to within their own household". I would say out and out banning people is the wrong choice from a business stand-point - edumacation is the starting point.
     
  4. CodeX

    CodeX Guest

    Shutting down someones connection is no harm?

    You're a tool. ISP's shouldn't be able to do this, nor should they be able to dictate the content that the users download.

    The water company doesn't come around and inspect how you are using your water, the electric company doesn't come around and inspect what you are powering with their electricity, they charge you for what you use and that's that. I don't see why this is any different.
     
  5. Frequency

    Frequency New Member

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    God I hate when i agree with your point of view
     
  6. OniMinion

    OniMinion ...recalls when this forum was actually about cars OT Supporter

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    Most summers in the Twin Cities, most suburbs only allow water on odd or even days depending if your house number is odd or even - the result is a large fine.

    Secondly, California's power grid was shut down multiple times to save money regardless of what the consumer thought about it.

    Lastly, from a customer standpoint. If I have internet with ISP X, and 15 people on my block are sharing their WiFi - and it's being used only for torrents. My personal connection speed with suffer... So it makes sense.

    If your network is open, it's completely legal. the 2.4GHz (typically) is considered public domain - so if it floats, you can have it. All the more reason to secure it, what if you have important documents? I'm sorta playing the devils advocate here, but some people DON'T KNOW. Period. It would be a good wake up call.
     
  7. OniMinion

    OniMinion ...recalls when this forum was actually about cars OT Supporter

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    I'm willing to bet the ISP gets overwhelmed. I can drive around any neighborhood and find an open network if needed. I used to upload rips that way (not anymore :p )
     
  8. OniMinion

    OniMinion ...recalls when this forum was actually about cars OT Supporter

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    I should've said that. I meant to say outside water usage.
     
  9. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Any ISP I heard doing this, I would bail on them.
     
  10. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    it is entirely depentent on the state. In nh it is perfectly legal to connect to any open wireless network, and if you don't want someone to connect them you have to take *some* measure to prevent it. But other states have the exact opposite laws, so it really depends where you are.

    And btw, nh got it right. The default operation for almost all wireless is to connect if it's available, so if you don't want someone to connect, you should prevent it.
     
  11. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    :ugh:

    yes, they can.
     
  12. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    :werd:

    And it's for exactly this reason also that I make sure in addition to securing my wireless networks (I have three separate WLANs at my house, one N, one B/G, one A) I also disable SSID broadcasting so it's very difficult for anyone to even find my networks to try connecting up to them.
     
  13. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    :bowrofl:

    no it's not
    http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/index.php?p=43

    SSID hiding: There is no such thing as "SSID hiding". You're only hiding SSID beaconing on the Access Point. There are 4 other mechanisms that also broadcast the SSID over the 2.4 or 5 GHz spectrum. The 4 mechanisms are; probe requests, probe responses, association requests, and re-association requests. Essentially, youre talking about hiding 1 of 5 SSID broadcast mechanisms. Nothing is hidden and all youve achieved is cause problems for Wi-Fi roaming when a client jumps from AP to AP. Hidden SSIDs also makes wireless LANs less user friendly. You dont need to take my word for it. Just ask Robert Moskowitz who is the Senior Technical Director of ICSA Labs in his white paper Debunking the myth of SSID hiding (link).

     
  14. 5Gen_Prelude

    5Gen_Prelude There might not be an "I" in the word "Team", but

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    It's akin to MAC address exclusion - it's a small step in the right direction, but it won't prevent someone to come in if they really want to.
     
  15. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    Nobody cracks any wireless security by hand, and every tool used to bypass wireless security automatically bypasses mac filtering and hidden ssid. Both are almost entirely useless.

    So while it doesn't hurt to turn them on, it doesn't help, either.
     
  16. trouphaz

    trouphaz New Member

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    actually, it doesn't sound like the thread starter was asking about shutting off people's connectivity. it sounds like he was asking about the legality and maybe the moral aspects of jumping onto open WiFi connections to see what their public IP was and to see if they are, in fact, customers of theirs. it sounds like they don't plan on shutting people down, but they want to know who their dealing with. the grey area comes into play when they jump onto a network that belongs to a different ISP. at that point, they have no business being on that network in the first place.

    but, here's a different argument. the ISP does not own that network anyway. the ISP is providing a connection to their network, but the user is maintaining their own distinct network that is being joined to the ISP. the user has one network (with their own IPs and subnet) and the ISP has a different one on which they provide you a single IP. so, i would say that it really isn't the ISP's right to jump onto someone's wireless network.
    if the ISP wants to control it, they should provide the wireless router and control everything.
     
  17. dorkultra

    dorkultra OT's resident crohns dude OT Supporter

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    i'm glad we got back on track

    we also provide wireless routers. some customers have them installed by our techs, who always secure the network with wep/wpa/wpa2. whatever means is most compatible (some people are seriously still running windows 98 and can't handle wpa or whatnot)
    ...and some people buy routers from us (we have linksys and netgear) and install them by themselves.
     
  18. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    back on track?

    if you want it back on track, answer the questoin "WHAT ARE THE LAWS IN YOUR STATE?"

    the company doesn't give a shit about "morals." it cares about dollars. if YOU are morally opposed to it, don't do it (and risk getting fired). but if you're asking if the company *can* do it, what does the law say?

    I'm guessing your policy says they can't leave their router open, and that your company has the right to check if they did. so jumping on THEIR wireless isn't the issue (because again, my guess is they signed a contract saying they allow you to check).

    the issue is when you jump on his neighbor's wireless, that's NOT provided by you.

    and the only issue is whether you're breaking the law by doing it.

    so, "WHAT ARE THE LAWS IN YOUR STATE?"
     
  19. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    depending on the state, you could be 100% wrong.

    like I said, in NH if you leave a wireless network unsecured and allow anyone to connect, then you must expect anyone can connect. there is absolutely nothing wrong with leeching someone else's wireless if they don't take any measures to secure it.

    so the ISP (and actually ANYONE) has the right to drive around and connect to open APs and send/receive data and, if you didn't take any measures to secure it, you have no recourse against their connecting and doing it.

    finally, it comes down to "WHAT ARE THE LAWS IN (his) STATE?"
     
  20. dorkultra

    dorkultra OT's resident crohns dude OT Supporter

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    i couldn't tell ya :dunno:
     
  21. 7960

    7960 New Member

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    when you find out that, there's your answer.
     

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