Legality of using someone else's wi-fi, redux

I am new to the board and read with interest the thread on using someone else’s 802.11 connection. In that thread the analogy was made to sneaking into a movie theatre without paying.

The problem with anologies is that unless they are apt, they are worthless. Let’s see how quickly I can stretch this stupid movie theatre anology that everyone seems stuck on to the point where it shatters in a million pieces.

The situation with wi-fi makes for some pretty strange movie theatres, that is for sure!

It is like there are 10 or 20 theatres on every block. They are all showing the same movie. Some charge admission, some let you in free, some are closed for private screenings. Some of the private screenings have a bouncer at the door, some do not. The only theatres with a sign are the ones charging admission, the others leave you to guess if the movie is free and open to the public, or if it is a private screening (unless they have a bouncer). All of the ushers are deaf so you can’t even ask. You know that a free theatre is called “Netgear” but five of the theatres have that name. The cab you are taking to the theatre might drop you off at any one of them, but you might be expected to walk to a different one, if only you could figure out which. Oh, by the way, inadvertantly walking into the wrong theatre is a major federal crime.

At this point, the only way to be sure of staying out of trouble is to either go to one of the theatres that charges money (but they aren’t on every block so you may have to travel a few miles away every time you want to see a movie), build your own theatre, or give up on movies altogether and crack open a book. Or you could pack up and move to Philly where there will soon be free theatres on every block that all have a sign telling you which ones they are.

If this sounds like a crazy way to run movie theatres, welcome to the wacky world of wi-fi!

I am glad we live in a world with no terrorists and an FBI with nothing better to do than investigate people who are just trying to see a movie.

This sorry state of affairs can be almost entirely blamed on the COMPLETE IDIOTS who want to reserve their theatres for private screenings, yet won’t take ten minutes out of their time to hire a bouncer that works for free (and who are probably so stupid they have never even heard of such a person), yet are willing to consume tens of thousands of dollars of other people’s money to have uninvited guests investigated and subjected to proscecution. It seems one of those idiots works for Lowe’s.

The only saving grace is that these people are usually blind as bats so they never even realize that you snuck in. They just scratch their heads when they can’t get a good seat in their own theatre and blame the film distributor.

The whole mess makes me want to scrap my 802.11 and get one of those Verizon cell modem thingys.

Look at the anology another way. I go to a theatre and knock on the door. The bouncer that comes with every theatre is always there, and what he does is under the control of the theatre owner. The bouncer can say “who the heck are you and what is the secret word”. Alternatively, the bouncer can stand aside, at which point the usher hands me a ticket that IS NEEDED TO SEE THE MOVIE. How do I know I was handed a ticket? Well for one thing it has this strange looking serial number on it made up of four sets of numbers seperated by dots…

So my question is, which analogy is more accurate, the idea that I am stealing or the one in the paragraph immediately above? Further, who is commiting a bigger moral crime (I am not talking about the law here, just morality) someone who checks e-mail on another persons’s network, doing no harm whatever, or the boob that leaves there connection open, allowing for the possiblility that A Certian Pop Star might happen by and download pictures of little boys in various stages of undress, thus furthering his sickness and increasing the likelyhood that a child will be molested, or maybe the intruder works for Osama and is getting instructions on how to kill thousands of people? Just asking…

This one has no simple answer, so I think moving it to GD might make more sense.

samclem GQ moderator

I was looking in the general questions thread and when I posted a reply to the original thread it didn’t pop to the top so I assumed that it wouldn’t be seen. Didn’t know it would pop to the top of the GD forum. Please post replys in the established thread… :slight_smile: