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Thread: Is wardriving legal?

  1. #16
    Mako Shark
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    I would think they would be able to pull a conviction if they tried, There must be some small silly law he broken if you search the massive law books...
    Yeah, thirteen cases of wire fraud. However, the portion I worked on was the network intrusion. I was the one who caught the guy and found out who he was. The point is, yes, they can nail him on wire fraud, but that was ancillary to the orginal scope of the investigation, and that was him accessing the county network without permission. Unless you have posted warnings and discaimers somewhere on your network (the criminal does not have to necessarily see them, they just have to be somewhere) it is not a crime.

    Furthermore, information broadcast over the air is even on more shaky legal ground. It is considered to be publicly accessible. And the assumption is that if you are not going to protect your network, it is not illegal. If the information is encrypted, then it is considered to be private, even though it is travelling over a public medium.
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  2. #17
    Great White Shark
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    I put this message on every network where I do any kind of consulting. It meets the legal requirements in virtually every jurisdiction in North America and most jusrisdictions in Europe when translated into the local language.

    This system is for authorized users only. Individuals using this computer system without authority, or in excess of their authority, are subject to having all of their activities on this system monitored, recorded and their use of this computer system terminated. In the course of monitoring individuals improperly using this system, or in the course of system maintenance, the activities of authorized users will also be monitored. Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if such monitoring reveals possible evidence of criminal activity, management may provide the evidence of such monitoring to law enforcement officials.

  3. #18
    Hammerhead Shark BremenCulhaven's Avatar
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    Originally posted by irwincur
    Yeah, thirteen cases of wire fraud. However, the portion I worked on was the network intrusion. I was the one who caught the guy and found out who he was. The point is, yes, they can nail him on wire fraud, but that was ancillary to the orginal scope of the investigation, and that was him accessing the county network without permission. Unless you have posted warnings and discaimers somewhere on your network (the criminal does not have to necessarily see them, they just have to be somewhere) it is not a crime.

    Furthermore, information broadcast over the air is even on more shaky legal ground. It is considered to be publicly accessible. And the assumption is that if you are not going to protect your network, it is not illegal. If the information is encrypted, then it is considered to be private, even though it is travelling over a public medium.
    Some of that is true. An example would be DSS broadcasts, it is encrypted, but it is not illegal to capture it over your private property. This is why DSS can't prosecute anyone for cable theft. They (directTV) are willfully broadcasting a signal over your property and as such you can do what you want with it. Now it is a totally different story when it comes to stealing cable. You are tapping into a sealed system that is off your property.

    So, as for network singal usage if your singal makes it on to public land or your neighbors land then really there isn't anything you can do about if they can receive it and use it. It's no different then the old analog cordless phones. As, for them accessing your networking equipment and manipulating it there is where they might get into legal trouble. Specially if you can prove they cost you money, by taking up bandwidth or by doing damage to you financially.

    BC
    Last edited by BremenCulhaven; 04-06-2004 at 08:15 PM.
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  4. #19
    Hammerhead Shark zackbass's Avatar
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    Speaking on the issue of whether users are responsible for wireless networks left open, are you in trouble if the knife you left in the road in front of your house is used to rob a bank? What about if the weapon was a gun? A big metal rod? The car you left you left running?

    Why is it allowable (in a theoretical sense) to legislate common sense in some cases but not others?

    A laptop bought with cash at a computer show combined with an open wireless AP eliminates the need to obfuscate your digital identity in a hacking attempt. At what point does this possibility become so dangerous that there becomes a need for penalties on the AP operator?

    As a responsible admin, all my wireless networks are encrypted and only allow machine based on MAC address and a sufficiently long alphanumeric password.

    Suppose I have a GMRS radio network (I'm not too familiar with the exact rules of GMRS as opposed to FRS and Amateur Radio, but it fits the example well) set up for my fleet of busses. The radios are mine, but the airwaves are public. Do I have a valid complaint when someone transmitting on their own personal radio runs down the batteries in mine? How about if they are stepping on my frequency and one of my busses breaks down but can't communicate to base? What about when they discover the DTMF code to my phone patch?

    Preexisting radio rulings and codes would be an excellent place to look for prescedent like in the example above.

    About the whole satellite TV thing, sure you can capture the encrypted signal, but what happens to the people that say "DSS can't prosecute anyone for cable theft" when they smack you with a DMCA violation?

    This whole discussion is so interesting because there is a load of prescedent waiting to be applied and examined, both in its original medium, and in new situations.
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  5. #20
    By the Power of Greyskull Colossus's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BremenCulhaven
    Some of that is true. An example would be DSS broadcasts, it is encrypted, but it is not illegal to capture it over your private property. This is why DSS can't prosecute anyone for cable theft. They (directTV) are willfully broadcasting a signal over your property and as such you can do what you want with it. Now it is a totally different story when it comes to stealing cable. You are tapping into a sealed system that is off your property.

    So, as for network singal usage if your singal makes it on to public land or your neighbors land then really there isn't anything you can do about if they can receive it and use it. It's no different then the old analog cordless phones. As, for them accessing your networking equipment and manipulating it there is where they might get into legal trouble. Specially if you can prove they cost you money, by taking up bandwidth or by doing damage to you financially.

    BC
    That is only partly true.. You are allow to capture anything in the air.. As long as you do not decrypt it.. Decrypting a signal that was not meant for you is ILLEGAL.. So yes they can and will prosecute people for cable theft.. It is still a crime.. But they cannot prosecute you for stealing channels which are not encrypted...

    And to answer Jackbass questions.. It is illegal to transmit on a channel you are not registered for through the FCC.. Or a public frequency range such as CB...

    Most radio operators requires you to register a frequency with the FCC and only use that frequency.. So if someone else is transmitting on it, it is illegal
    Last edited by Colossus; 04-06-2004 at 11:34 PM.

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  6. #21
    Great White Shark
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    Originally posted by BremenCulhaven
    Some of that is true. An example would be DSS broadcasts, it is encrypted, but it is not illegal to capture it over your private property. This is why DSS can't prosecute anyone for cable theft. They (directTV) are willfully broadcasting a signal over your property and as such you can do what you want with it. BC
    In the USA it is not legal to break encryption of copyright material of any kind. That includes RF transmissions.

    It is also illegal to intercept telephony communications of any kind. In Florida a Democrat party official was found guilty of a felony for using a scanner to intercept and record a phone between a Republican candidate and his advisor. She mailed the tape to the DNC who made public the contents. IIRC it was during the 1998 or 2000 elections.

  7. #22
    Mako Shark
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    The problem here (and the problem I ran into with the prosecutor and federal judge) was this: plain and simple the laws have not kept up with the crimes. And the further you move from even slightly applicable laws (fraud, telecom act, etc...) the higher the burden of proof. Considering that the burden rests with the prosecution, no one will prosecute beause it is almost impossible to prove guilt under current law. It is even more difficult to link old laws to current crimes. A large portion of this difficulty rests with ignornace within the legal community regarding modern computing issues.

    Unless the network is specifically said to belong to 'x' party. A home wireless network, without a warning, is carried over public utilities (cables and phone lines) as well as public airspace. It is public. If there is encryption, this would probably be different, as encryption implies ownership of the information. But, most war drivers are looking for open non encrypted networks anyways.

    Two of my neighbors have open networks, I have checked them out, is that really illegal if they are willingly broadcasting.
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  8. #23
    Not Wurm Isezumi's Avatar
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    Ironically enough, while I was paying my speeding ticket recently I sat in on a few small claims hearings and one of these cases was one neighbor sueing the other for damages to do using an unmarked open WiFi connection. The Magistrate ruled in favor of the defendant, he drew a correlary to private property and trespassing. If you own a one acre lot and you only fence/mark off only half that lot and leave the other half unmarked and some other person decides to enter that unmarked half acre you are SOL in reguards to getting a conviction on trespassing. Because you failed to comply with the necessary measures to establish "private property" (that being the erecting of a fence or the posting of signs at a certain interval along your property line).

  9. #24
    Goldfish mshe's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ewitte
    The law should be against people leaving it open in the first place Its like leaving the keys in your car with the engine running, a sack of money on the drivers seat and the door open.
    Doesn't mean it's legal.

    Say I fired my gun and you were standing in front of it. Could I say "Well you were standing in the way of the bullet?"
    Last edited by mshe; 04-08-2004 at 05:09 PM.

  10. #25
    Goldfish mshe's Avatar
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    Originally posted by irwincur

    Two of my neighbors have open networks, I have checked them out, is that really illegal if they are willingly broadcasting.
    They may not be willingly... but rather unwillingly broadcasting.

  11. #26
    Not Wurm Isezumi's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mshe
    Doesn't mean it's legal.

    Say I fired my gun and you were standing in front of it. Could I say "Well you were standing in the way of the bullet?"
    Thats a pretty crappy analogy to rationalize your point. The problem with it is that Wi-Fi, at least on the consumer level, broadcast signals are adirectional. Where as a gun is going to shoot a bullet where ever you point the muzzle.

    If at this level the owner of the signal could control the direction of broadcast (and possibly distance) this would be a non-issue.

  12. #27
    Sushi
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAoC View Post
    Heh go and try this~ you'll still get arrested for stealing a car whether or not it was fully locked, or unlocked & running. We use wireless at home.. keycode is changed once a month. Even then I think someone would notice if there is a person outside their house 20 hours a day since that's how long it would take to crack the 10 digit code. I see my neighbors wireless network though, but he has it encrypted so cant get on, havn't tried "hacking" into it.
    the stealing a car analogy is flawed due to the fact that you cant accidentally start driving someones car without knowing lol. now you majority of people tend to leave wifi on and can unknowingly connect to someones open wifi. . I donít feel as though that someone who accidently connects to someoneís network should be penalized due to their lack of security. For example; if I visit my friendís house and leave my laptop or phone in my car downloading something and my devices mistakenly connect to a local unsecured internet than I did not intentionally connect to their network. all about intent

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