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Free Wi-Fi: the Movement To Give Away Your Internet For the Good of Humanity

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the leeching-is-bad-form dept.

The Internet 505

pigrabbitbear writes "We are strangely territorial when it comes to our wireless networks. The idea of someone siphoning off our precious bandwidth without paying for it is, for most people, completely unacceptable. But the Open Wireless Movement wants to change all that. 'We are trying to create a movement where people are willing to share their network for the common good,' says Adi Kamdar, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'It's a neighborly thing to do.' That's right, upstanding citizen of the Internet, you can be a good neighbor just by opening your wireless network to strangers — or so the line goes. The ultimate vision is one of neighborhoods completely void of passwords, where any passerby can quickly jump on your network and use Google Maps to find directions or check their email or do whatever they want to do (or, whatever you decide they can do)."

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Bad idea. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741025)

Someone finds and an open WiFi, DL's some CP, you get the blame. One of the many reasons they can have my Cat 5e when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.

Re:Bad idea. (4, Interesting)

Sigma 7 (266129) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741231)

Easy to fix. If you want to access someone's WiFi, you log into the proxy server on that network.

This token may be sent via email, SMS, or determined from the comptuer's MAC address. From there, the WiFi host is protected, but they can still track down the person trying to view the Little Lacy Surprise Pageant.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741381)

That's the standard approach used by businesses now - it's too complicated for a business like a restaurant to set up themselves, but they can easily enough enter into some form of agreement with a hotspot operator to provide the service. It's not practical for the home user though, without a company to run the authentication who can maintain the authentication/logging system and contract with a mobile network operator to send SMS messages.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741509)

If you don't mind the performance hit, sending everybody who comes in through the 'public' SSID out through Tor is an option...

Hey Dice! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741315)

If it is a Dice "submission" just fucking say so assholes.

Re:Bad idea. (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741393)

Someone finds and an open WiFi, DL's some CP, you get the blame. One of the many reasons they can have my Cat 5e when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.

How ever, once open wifi is the norm, such prosecute the IP address holder techniques would not be possible. Cops would actually have to do some real work of finding the sources rather than going after the sinks.

Re:Bad idea. (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741431)

You mean like the MAFIAA do with dynamic IP address holders?

Open network? (5, Insightful)

Dins (2538550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741027)

Sure, I'd be more than happy to open my wifi network...if it meant I wasn't going to be liable for what a guest does on it....

Re:Open network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741095)

Sure, I'd be more than happy to open my wifi network...if it meant I wasn't going to be liable for what a guest does on it....

...and if I were given a decent QoS setup such that my guests wouldn't starve me of bandwidth...

Hypocrite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741279)

Sure, Net Neutrality is important - except when it comes to _me_.

Fucking Americans.

Re:Hypocrite (3, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741351)

Im giving them net access for free the telecoms are being paid for access to the net big deifference.

Re:Hypocrite (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741391)

Net Neutrality has nothing to do with QoS.

Re:Hypocrite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741519)

Sure, Net Neutrality is important - except when it comes to _me_.

Fucking Americans.

Where are you from? Texas?

Re:Hypocrite (5, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741525)

QoS gives packets different priority based on the type of data and net neutrality allows for that. What net neutrality doesn't allow for is differing priority based on the server; specifically, it doesn't allow you to treat packets from your servers preferentially and it doesn't allow you to blackmail other service providers for faster speeds. As for providing a guest with a slower connection than yourself, that is no different than an ISP giving different bandwidth speeds depending on your service level and has nothing to do with QoS or net neutrality.

Re:Hypocrite (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741625)

well put. i wish i had some mod points for you.

Re:Open network? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741371)

...and if I were given a decent QoS setup such that my guests wouldn't starve me of bandwidth...

Yeap. I had an open WiFi for years, and my neighbors used it until I started playing some online games. Then the bandwidth was bad enough I added a password. Oh well.

Re:Open network? (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741119)

Well, technically you're not. Except for the part where you're guilty until proven innocent.

When I lived in a less affluent area, I left my WiFi open as a gift to my neighbors. Never had a problem.

Re:Open network? (1)

Dins (2538550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741209)

Well, technically you're not. Except for the part where you're guilty until proven innocent.

Right. So why even expose myself to any potential risk when I can just close the network and not worry about it. Sounds awesome on paper, and as long as I didn't have bandwidth caps as someone else mentioned and I was guaranteed to never be held liable for somebody torrenting from my IP address, I'd do it. Otherwise, no.

Re:Open network? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741253)

"Technically you're not?" Citation needed. You are almost certainly liable for any criminal activity that originates from your home. This is not "guilty until proven innocent." If your neighbor sues you for damage to his fence originating from your side, you are liable but not guilty. The lawsuit will establish guilt or innocence. Same with people committing fraud from your equipment. You will be liable, and will have to respond to any litigation that results. This aside from any contractual obligations you have with your ISP that limit what you can do with your connectivity.

Re:Open network? (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741423)

You've really got two problems to deal with. The civil liability, and the criminal prosecutions. The first gets you in trouble for all the copyright infringement, the latter the downloading of child porn. That's a particular concern, because the usual social approach to child porn is 'Hang the perverted monster.' Even if you can prove beyond all doubt that it was someone else, a hard thing to do, you'll still find that your name is dirt, no company will hire even an accused pedophile, and your neighbours start smashing your windows in an effort to make you leave.

Re:Open network? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741569)

If I have a guest over and that person kicks a whole through the neighbor's fence I'm automatically liable simply because he was standing on my property when he did so? I don't think that's how it works. You might find yourself in some kind of trouble depending on the exact situation, but to try to boil it down to "You will be liable" is overly simplistic to the point of being a straw man.

Re:Open network? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741429)

Well, technically you're not. Except for the part where you're guilty until proven innocent.

When I lived in a less affluent area, I left my WiFi open as a gift to my neighbors. Never had a problem.

Well technically you ARE liable. Go read your ISP's terms of use.
You not only agreed not to share it, you also agreed to be liable for all use of it.

Re:Open network? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741567)

When you lived in a less affluent area, you probably didn't have too many neighbors who used WiFi.

Re:Open network? (2)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741251)

Along with liability, I would be worried about bandwidth starvation and isolation of my internal network from those "passing by". These can all be done today, but if the router an easy menu to set that up easily, it would work.

I would imagine that if it became too popular, the Internet providers will start capping usage to something crazy low.

Re:Open network? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741609)

Along with liability, I would be worried about bandwidth starvation and isolation of my internal network from those "passing by". These can all be done today, but if the router an easy menu to set that up easily, it would work.

I would imagine that if it became too popular, the Internet providers will start capping usage to something crazy low.

Most routers being supplied by big providers like Comcast, Centruy Link, Cox, etc. as well as common Cisco and Apple routers, support a Guest Account, which is a separate virtual subnet, Even DD-WRT supports this. You can limit concurrent connections, range, etc. [flashrouters.com]

But you still have to get around the agreement you signed with your ISP that states you will not share your connection.

Re:Open network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741307)

this

Re:Open network? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741309)

Agreed. So long at the MPAA and RIAA goon squads are searching out "IP violators", I don't intend to get sued. Also, from a moral standpoint, there are some web sites to which I don't want to increase traffic (such as terrorists).

Re:Open network? (5, Informative)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741385)

You aren't liable [eff.org] and you'll probably get a successful [eff.org] good [electronista.com] free [techdirt.com] lawyer [dslreports.com] (well free to you) if anyone gives you grief.

Worried about your door kicked in? I'd say it's your civic duty - and if my reasons aren't good enough for you, maybe you'd consider the optional counter-suits like winning the lottery

Re:Open network? (1)

kwark (512736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741561)

There are a few options:
-take part in an "open" network that has some accountability (eg FON (good luck finding a functioning hotspot))
-only allow VPN connections (good luck filtering)
-tunnel your open network through TOR, you will not be implicated in any unlawful actions (slow but not my problem)

Re:Open network? (0)

cellurl (906920) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741581)

mcdonalds is open. My wifi has always been open. Come and get it. As I say to my kids' school which has locked down wifi, "Locked wifi only hurts poor people".
Help eliminate stupid speeding tickets. [wikispeedia.org]

Open your network to strangers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741033)

and limit the use to 60 seconds.

Legal obligations? (4, Interesting)

danomac (1032160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741045)

Until the laws are changed to annul my responsibility for freeloaders on my wifi, I won't have it open. I'm not about to take any legal risk.

While I like the idea, it's not practical to me.

Re:Legal obligations? (3, Informative)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741421)

Re:Legal obligations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741587)

The laws might be on your side but the agreements with your ISP will not be and you will probably still be shut down if someone abuses your connection

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130111/16325521645/details-various-six-strikes-plans-revealed-may-create-serious-problems-free-wifi.shtml

Re:Legal obligations? (1)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741557)

Could forward everything over Tor or some such so that their activity isn't traceable to you (kinda)

If you leave your doors unlocked (2)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741057)

your insurance is void.

Re:If you leave your doors unlocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741235)

Because a lock will prevent your door from being bashed down.

Re:If you leave your doors unlocked (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741511)

Not sure about home insurance, but I know here in Canada that isn't true of vehicle insurance. My father had his truck stolen with the keys in the ignition. The insurance company tried to convince him that he wasn't covered because of that, but after about 6 or 7 rounds of intimidation from the insurance company they finally relented and admitted that stealing is stealing and it didn't matter how it happened. Now if he wouldn't have been so stubborn they would have won and my dad would have been left without his payout.

In the end, the truck was his property and he did not give permission for it to be taken. That is the crime. It's no less a crime if it's easy or hard to steal. Now if he had put a sign on it "free to a good home" and someone took it then that would be different.

Got QoS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741063)

Does the plan include removing all ISP capping?

Re:Got QoS? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741169)

Does the plan include removing all ISP capping?

What about building a mesh network instead?

Pay for trunk lines (4, Interesting)

JeffSh (71237) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741073)

I am not necessarily going to hate on this, but doesn't the idea kind of undermine the subscriber model of service delivery? One reason we can achieve the individual speeds we do is because of over subscription of available bandwidth, it's not as though each residential customer is actually buying the bandwidth they receive, and so that is how the provider pays for infrastructure to provide the global access they do. Isn't the eventual endgame scenario of this to be in effect undermining itself?

The only way it would not be is if:

1. per subscriber rates were to increase
2. some open source movement to supply trunk lines between point of presences... not sure how that will work out..

Re:Pay for trunk lines (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741161)

Yeah - there's a lot wrong with this, unless some things change. 1) Suddenly the ISP loses most of their customers who all start sharing a connection; they start charging by bandwidth because it becomes the only tenable solution. 2) Your bandwidth is only so high... with everybody using it, you get slammed with a fraction of what you're paying for while others are getting the rest. 3) Your neighbors or drive-bys do something bad and you get blamed.

Re:Pay for trunk lines (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741297)

I think it is not helpful to assume the worst case scenario. The oversubscription model itself specifically igmores the worst case scenario, so why does a different model have to be more rigid?

Phone (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741103)

While you are at it, leave a phone connected to your land line (if you still have one) on your porch for community use.

Two issues... (5, Interesting)

slasher999 (513533) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741115)

Fair usage based on your agreement with your provider likely prohibits this meaning you would be in breach of contract and subject to cancellation, at least here in the US, and rightfully so in my opinion. Secondly, sounds like something the child porn perverts would love to see happen to assist them in evading detection while they prey on our children. Sorry, I won't be participating in this. Ever.

It's not bandwidth I'm worried about.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741121)

... it's LAN security. If I had a very easy way to secure my LAN and still share Wi-Fi, I might just consider it. So far, I don't trust my knowledge enough to do this.

but my LAN security! (5, Insightful)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741151)

If I decided to do this, I would need to operate my LAN like every node was bare on the internet. I've got fileservers with guest access (for, you know... houseguests), web services, my invoicing system, and a whole slew of other personal services. The thought of open wifi on the LAN kinda scares me from a security perspective.

Given that the majority of people out there aren't security conscious, there are all kinds of implications for keeping default router settings/passwords.

When I was staying in the Oakwoods in Burbank, CA for work (long-term housing, like... for months), I could see every machine on the LAN and all of the windows machines had read-only filesharing on, so I was able to loot up on all kinds of raunchy porn that people downloaded from limewire. One guy even had a bunch of tax documents in a shared folder. This included a PDF of the lease on his lexus, and some credit card statements. Another guy had 8GB of photos of his kids and family.

Shit can be dangerous out there if you're not careful.

Re:but my LAN security! (3, Insightful)

inputdev (1252080) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741353)

Another guy had 8GB of photos of his kids and family.

You don't sound like you were trying to be malicious, but didn't you consider not snooping on other peoples machines? I still like the idea of having unlocked doors and not needing security systems on houses, etc. I expect other people to have a moral compass and not walk in and go through my stuff. I get your point, but I wish you would elevate your mentality to where you aren't violating peoples privacy and feeling justified because they didn't actively prevent you from doing it.

Re:but my LAN security! (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741355)

That's one of my main concerns as well. Plus the QOS issue.
Ideally I would have a fancy router that could broadcast two SSIDs at the same time, one with a SSID of "free Internet: password is password", and the other something else. And then restrict (put into a demilitarized zone (DMZ)) the public network from all my private stuff. And, ideally I would have a click through agreement saying that I could do whatever I wanted, but that I probably wouldn't... And please don't use BitTorrent or other bandwidth hoggers. I think I would also port-block to some limited set (web, FTP, mail and SSH maybe?). And of course limit the speed to just 64kbps down. Even better would be automatic speed limiting whenever someone was connected and using the private network.

Sounds like I need to settle down somewhere for more than just a couple of years.

Re:but my LAN security! (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741375)

If I decided to do this, I would need to operate my LAN like every node was bare on the internet.

You should be doing that anyway if you actually care about security.

I've got fileservers with guest access (for, you know... houseguests), web services, my invoicing system, and a whole slew of other personal services.

Sounds like if any single of your devices (or your guest's devices) are compromised, your entire network is compromised. The problem already exists, opening up your network would only expose it further.

Re:but my LAN security! (2)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741473)

If I decided to do this, I would need to operate my LAN like every node was bare on the internet.

Just get a second router and set up a DMZ. That's effectively what I did when I switched over to FiOS since Verizon gives you a router to use. My home network is now basically:

(fios conenction) -> (fios router) -> (my router) -> (my LAN)

I give out the wifi on the fios router to family/friends who visit. So they have internet access but they don't have any access to the equipment on my LAN.

Re:but my LAN security! (1)

Zymophideth (1658251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741527)

If your Access Point supports multiple SSIDs you should be able to place one in a DMZ like environment. Then they would only have access to the internet, you could even restrict it so they couldn't even see anyone else using the same open SSID. If your AP doesn't support multiple SSIDs but your router does support a DMZ type interface you could get a separate AP and plug it into that DMZ port.

Plausible deniability (1)

rtkluttz (244325) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741157)

Its plausible deniability to the a$$hats running our governments. I run an IT consulting business and have machines with all kinds of malware come through, and I also share my internet with all my neighbors. I don't do anything illegal, but all my drives are truecrypt encrypted and anyone who takes my drives would told briskly where to go. I don't care who did what and where. I don't care and refuse to be a policeman. Internet is internet and only the person who sent the bad stuff should be responsible. Me or my internet provider should not be held liable if someone does something bad over a carrier. Phone companies aren't liable for murders planned over the phone. Suck it gov'ment.

Re:Plausible deniability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741395)

PROTIP: Truecrypt's "plausible deniability" has been found to not be deniable at all, since the hidden drive could be found anyway. Look it up.

But the goons (the government-approved gang of criminals mobsters) will assume "guilty until innocent" anyway, and beat you until you admit it all. Even if there is nothing to admit. And then they will beat you to death anyway. All using a towel, a hose and a bathtub of water.

Common Good (4, Funny)

crakbone (860662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741163)

" the Movement To Give Away Your Internet For the Good of Humanity" For the Good of humanity? Have they been on the internet?

This is bad idea amd then some (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741171)

10 years ago I would have thought this was great idea. But it is not, it's very bad.

Someone will end up hurting or abusing your kindness. You can't avoid the "tragedy of the commons" problem.

Too much work (1)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741181)

I run my own OpenBSD router. I had this setup at one time, but after an upgrade I decided not to set it up again. Basically, it requires a ton of crap. A 3rd network interface, a wireless AP, and a ton of knowledge on how to configure it.

I'm very surprised that someone hasn't came out with a simple already setup wireless AP that segregates the guests from your local network, restricts it to some configurable bandwidth, and is secure enough to not be easily hacked through.

Re:Too much work (1)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741255)

I also have a friend who has a similar setup to what I use to have... but instead of the public wifi AP going to the internet, it made every HTTP request serve shock images(goatse, etc). I'm sure that's a good way to get sued though if some teen got onto your AP

Re:Too much work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741261)

Check out Tomato Firmware with shibby enhancements. Does pretty much what you ask.

Re:Too much work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741263)

Actually, I think I HAVE seen such devices. They present two SSIDs to the world, one of which is a guest setup that prevents LAN access and restricts bandwidth, the other behaves more traditionally with WPA2 or what-have-you.

The only problem is that I can't for the life of me remember who made it, or what model it was, or if it was actually the behavior of one of the open-source firmwares out there.

Re:Too much work (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741589)

Actually, I think I HAVE seen such devices. They present two SSIDs to the world, one of which is a guest setup that prevents LAN access and restricts bandwidth, the other behaves more traditionally with WPA2 or what-have-you.

The only problem is that I can't for the life of me remember who made it, or what model it was, or if it was actually the behavior of one of the open-source firmwares out there.

That would be the Fonera, made by FON [fon.com]

Incidentally, that little device also happens to be the basis of one of my favorite pen-testing tools, the wifi pineapple [myshopify.com]

Re:Too much work (1)

Xeno man (1614779) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741275)

Many wireless routers now come with guest accounts preconfigured to share internet access. It's just a matter of turning them on.

Re:Too much work (1)

rtkluttz (244325) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741413)

Check out OpenMesh. Ready and going in 10 minutes if you use a near default config but easy to change even if you go more advanced. Also supports sandbox and ticketing systems if you so choose.

Not that hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741443)

You need a Unifi UAP-PRO, and a switch/firewall capable of VLAN Tagging. My church has a public and a private network, neatly segregated using VLAN tagging. If the traffic comes from the Public VLAN, it goes out the Internet port on the router. If it is from the Private VLAN, then it is allowed on the internal network. Not that hard to setup.

What about legal risks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741213)

I'd open my network, but I'm afraid to open myself up to risks involved with someone using my connection to email in a bomb threat, harass someone, download legally questionable content, or other things that could cause legal issues. If I knew that everyone could/would be responsible there would be no problem.

Too bad it probably violates all current TOS (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741217)

I'd imagine that most ISP's specifically prohibit you from redistrubuting the connection. I know AT&T does:
http://www.att.com/shop/internet/att-internet-terms-of-service.html#fbid=ngagtE5P5nh
Section 10a - "a. No Resale. The Service is provided for your use only (unless otherwise specifically stated) and you agree not to, whether for a fee or without charge, reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, transfer, trade, resell, re-provision, redistribute, or rent the Service, your membership in the Service, any portion of the Service, use of the Service, or access to the Service, including, but not limited to, reselling capabilities enabled or used by a specific application (including, without limitation, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) via wired, wireless or other means. For example, you agree that the Service is not to be used to trunk or facilitate public internet access (“Hotspots”) or any other public use of the Service ,"

Re:Too bad it probably violates all current TOS (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741563)

I've always questioned the legality of such clauses; Ford can't tell their customers that Explorers are not allowed to be used for building Chevy's, so what makes Ma Bell any different?

Re:Too bad it probably violates all current TOS (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741575)

Mod this up. Comcast is the same as ATT, in this respect.

I'm rather surprised that only one A.C. mentions TOS. I was about to, but I was scanning the comments looking to see if anyone else had. In all of the comments you're the only one. Most of the comments were concerned about the MafiAA, kiddie pr0n, and loss of bandwidth.

But TOS is a civil matter. Share your connection and they're entitled to cut you off.

If you have a smarter router (2)

Sheetrock (152993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741225)

Keep in mind that (with a decent router) you can open your Wi-Fi but route all guest connections through TOR transparently. That might be a fair compromise, along with rate-limiting, capping per-session usage, and setting a hard limit for the month if necessary to prevent yourself from going over your own cap on service.

Open Wi-Fi everywhere actually makes me more nervous for the clients than for the servers. People already don't understand security with Wi-Fi, and need to know that any server they're using can observe their traffic if it isn't encrypted. I guess that's already a concern without open Wi-Fi everywhere, though.

Oh Adi... (1)

z3pp3h (1842070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741227)

You so cray...

What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741241)

From TFA

hat's right, upstanding citizen of the Internet, you can be a good neighbor just by opening your wireless network to strangers — or so the line goes. The ultimate vision is one of neighborhoods completely void of passwords, where any passerby can quickly jump on your network and use Google Maps to find directions or check their email or do whatever they want to do (or, whatever you decide they can do)."

Or some script-kiddie could use any unsecured wi-fi to haxor into some server, prompting the government to seize all your assets and you will have to prove your innocence. Since you won't because the script-kiddie has covered his tracks you will be found guilty in a kangaroo court so you will be made an example of for others. The same will happen with the download of child porn and people will use the tired old line "Won't somebody please think of the children" to lock away the "freaks" even if the defendant had never downloaded any porn whatsoever. The government won't care and neither will Joe and Jane Sixpack. All Joe and Jane Sixpack care about getting rid of child pedos and pervs that look at child porn and they will be too fixated on doing just that so they won't give a fuck about if someone is truly guilty or not-guilty. It would be best just to keep a good, strong password on all wi-fi routers. The rest can use their 3g or 4g on their phones to access the internet when needed.

No Way... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741257)

I'm pretty sure allowing my neighbor to freeload off of my wi-fi is illegal - and if my neighbor decides to download kiddie-porn??? No way. Create a public org to fund and distribute wi-fi.

Why is this even on the /. front page?

Rather than many open networks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741269)

Personally, I don't want people on my wireless network for two reasons: Security/privacy, and I don't want my link slammed by someone using its full capacity.

How about just one? Get communities to pool resources to fund a single link. That's the most communal option, really. It will give you the most bang for your buck, and you don't have a hundred different competing WiFi signals. You don't have to hop networks when one gets bogged down by too many users.

Do a little QoS to make sure nobody abuses the community resource, and let people like myself run a local network behind a NAT for security and privacy. Maybe we could even let people pay more or less for different capacity depending on what performance they feel like they need?

Wait, this sounds familiar...

Have fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741271)

"My neighbours are stealing my wireless internet access. I could encrypt it or alternately I could have fun."
http://www.ex-parrot.com/pete/upside-down-ternet.html

Re:Have fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741503)

"My neighbours are stealing my wireless internet access. I could encrypt it or alternately I could have fun." http://www.ex-parrot.com/pete/upside-down-ternet.html [ex-parrot.com]

Ha, that's better than the time I noticed a neighborhood leech had failed to secure his laser printer, to which I sent a few million pages filled with "Thou Shalt not Steal thy Neighbor's Wifi"


Posting anon because, well, one of you might be that leech :)

Fuck that ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741283)

'We are trying to create a movement where people are willing to share their network for the common good,' says Adi Kamdar, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'It's a neighborly thing to do.'

If my neighbors want an internet connection, they can buy their own, dammit.

In a world where you can be sued for downloading files based on an IP address, or where you can be investigated for things like child pornography ... there's no way in hell I'd be willing to open my network for everybody to use. I know what my wife and I download. That guy down the street? No idea.

And, since my ISP charges me based on my used bandwidth, I'm not subsidizing your internet access.

Sure, it's possible noble and altruistic. But it also carries some legal risks.

Wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741285)

>>
>>use Google Maps to find directions or check their email or do whatever they want to do
>>

    Gee, If only I could do that on something I carry around with me all the time.....

Until your raided by the FBI... (0)

jameshofo (1454841) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741301)

Like one individual oops [sophos.com] sure he'll survive but he probably had to pay a lawyer to prove his innocence, the problem is the burden of proof is on you at that point. I'd be happy to share it for a select few services however, like Google maps or something, sure have at it! If the hardware kept some kind of record of who connected and when it may go a long way to making it FBI raid friendly.

Did this already, was asked to stop. (5, Funny)

NoahsMyBro (569357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741317)

Years ago I set up a free wi-fi network from my house, and called it something like 'Free WiFi'. A few weeks later a neighbor asked me to stop.

He regulated his kids' internet usage, and they had been using the free network to get online during those times when they were prohibited from doing so.

So I turned it off.

Nevermind that 'reality' thing (1)

oraclese (1039520) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741321)

The reason people lock down their wireless are as follows (preaching to the choir, I know): 1) Bandwidth caps (and/or pay-per-use models) 2) Personal security (I don't want someone having access to my information on my network) 3) Legislation (if I allow someone to access my Wi-Fi, I could be held responsible for any illegal activies that the 'someone' participates in) This is like saying everyone should unlock their doors in New York so I can have access to free running water whenever I need it - nevermind their ability to now steal all my crap and void my insurance. Pie in the sky BS.

Concerns (1)

yurik (160101) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741349)

I have had my AP open for almost a year in the middle of New York, and there are usually 10-20 mobile and other users connected. And even though I have assigned the highest priority to my own computer, sometimes network slows down considerably. It might be the "wonderful" TimeWarner messing up as usual, but it could also be some torrent usage which I would rather keep off. Sadly, specifically my revision of the linksys router does not run dd-wrt or any other open stacks, so I have no way to do any custom magic without router upgrade. And even if I do buy a new router, I don't think it is easy to filter torrent traffic. Plus I would really love to have an encrypted portion of my network for my own devices, as cookie stealing is fairly common and easy to do.

Any recommendations? Thanks!

"Precious Bandwidth"? (3, Informative)

Kurt Granroth (9052) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741359)

I'm not entirely certain why the article lists "siphoning precious bandwidth" as the reason most people would lock down their Wi-Fi. It seems highly unlikely that that would come into play at all, most of the time, much less be the main reason.

No, there are three reasons why I don't have an open AP:

1. Legal liability for a guest's action is spotty. Technically speaking, I know that I am not liable if a guest performs an illegal act using my AP. What's the likelihood that a police officer or prosecutor would give me the benefit of the doubt while investigating the crime, though? The most likely course of action is that I spend some time in jail or under arrest until my innocence is proven.

2. My ISP TOS expressly forbids sharing the service. As long as they aren't doing deep packet sniffing (and they might be), it's possible I could set up the open AP such that everything is NAT'ed through a known server. The risk of doing so is getting my service cut off, though.

3. Allowing a rogue agent in my network drastically reduces the security of the network. I could create a locked down subnetwork just for the open AP, but that would be a notable amount of work.

So I have risks that involve jail time; termination of service; and/or loss of my personal data. What are the rewards? I feel good about helping my fellow man?

Not worth it at all.

I'd be willing, except... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741361)

It's pretty easy for me to add an alias AP to my router. I've done it before. I can turn on CBQ and even have some fairness, letting people use my WiFi at full speed as long as nobody on the password protected port needs bandwidth. Takes 5-10 minutes to configure it all.

Now here is why I have not done that, I don't want a SWAT team kicking down my door if someone uses my WiFi to hack, pirate or download child porn. The overly aggressive police force in the US makes me not want to do a neighborly thing. It also does not make me want to report crimes or ever communicate with the police again.

If someone were to break in my home, then shot them in self defense. If it turned out to be an illegal police search rather than an intruder (I fail to see the distinction but the courts insist there is one), I would pretty much be given life in prison.

The safest thing right now is to just let yourself be victimized in small ways, and try not to catch the attention of anyone who can ruin your life long term (like government agencies or drug cartels).

Better idea (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741403)

Why open your internal network up to every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the street, when you can easily supplement it, [fon.com] and your income as well?


Assuming you don't want to charge others for the access, there's really nothing stopping you from setting up a secondary, open wifi router on the DMZ of your network.



Everybody has a DMZ, right?

Or, you know, 3G (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741433)

The proposers appear to have completely missed a few things:

- Ubiquitous 3G, available to all, even those on prepaid plans, makes this completely unnecessary.
- Traffic caps
- Shared bandwidth = less bandwidth for subscriber
- Freeloaders = less people actually paying for infrastructure = more expensive for those paying
- Security issues as partitioning off home network requires a certain amount of expertise
- Liability issues

This proposal may have made sense in 1993, when a high bandwidth connection to the Internet cost hundreds, or maybe thousands, of dollars a month, and Internet over cellular meant using a 300bps modem. But today?

You can't have MY wi-fi (1)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741441)

Because I'm paying a substantial amount of money for a 4096/256 connection. That's kilobit, not kilobytes per second.

Download, yeah, I could live with you leeching some of it, but any and all upload kills the download. Are you part of a botnet? If you start sending shit up, we'll both get choked on download speed; not only because of the upload, but also because of the number of connections. About 50 and my router starts crapping out.

What's that? Buy a better router that handles more connections and can segregate you with your own connection/bandwidth cap? Sure, everything for you! I'm rolling in cash!

So no, you can't have it. I pay for mine, you pay for yours. You're not a friend, you're a foe. I'm not letting you freeload in my house and eat my food, and I'm not letting you use my bandwidth money just because it's a "nice" thing to do. Especially if your activities make the police come to my doorstep, confiscate my computer and all my disks and discs (all of which I may or may not see again in a year or two), and if I get a criminal report attached to my lovely (and unique) name, which will make me lose my job and not ever be able to find a new one, even if I somehow avoid prison. "It wasn't me, judge! I swear!"

No way.

Mr. Kamdar, give people the keys to your house and point them to the fridge, electricity and running water. It's for the good of humanity!

More challenging than most users are capable of (3, Insightful)

macemoneta (154740) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741445)

In order to do this without exposing your LAN to security issues, and not create liability issues because of the action of guests, it would require more setup than most end-users are capable of.

The WiFi interface would have to be kept separate (not bridged to the LAN), and the WiFi interface would have to be VPN'd to a (legally) safe termination. If companies want users to be able to use open WiFi, they need to step up to make this a default configuration on routers. Sure, those that use openwrt or dd-wrt can configure this, but there's a vanishingly small percentage of users with that skill set.

knock knock (1)

The-Blue-Clown (1261404) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741459)

Better make sure pier2pier is blocked along with other porn. try opendns for starters. Else you'll have to prove you weren't the one who downloaded kiddy porn.

If I have one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42741461)

I'd definitely share my wifi except that I won't have one if my neighbors open theirs.

ISP terms and conditions forbid this (1)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741479)

A few years ago, when I was changing ISP, I remember reading terms and conditions (for most, if not all the ISPs I looked at) that banned the sharing of your internet connection with third parties. I'm not sure what the terminology was exactly, but they were obviously trying to stop this kind of thing from happening (on paper at least).

Share everything (1)

halfkoreanamerican (2566687) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741483)

We might as well open up the doors to our houses so passersby can help themselves to a cold glass of water while we're at it.

Re:Share everything (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741611)

You are joking, but that is pretty much how life used to be until about 1965 or so. Nobody used to lock their homes and drivers actually picked hitch hikers up too.

with cable, you're sharing bandwidth anyway (1)

bcrowell (177657) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741529)

TFA makes the point that, at least in theory, you can bandwidth-limit your router so that the amount of flow your neighbors generate is negligible. Someone who's driving through your neighborhood and is lost can pull over and look at a map on their handheld device, but the guy in the house next door won't be watching netflix all night on your connection and bogging you down. Another thing to realize is that if you have cable modem service, you're sharing bandwidth with your neighbors anyway.

For me, the big argument against doing this is simply complexity. Running a home wifi network for my wife and kids is already the biggest %*&%^*& pain in the ass ever. The damn system is fragile as hell. I've tried various things advised by slashdotters (buying brands and models of routers known to be reliable, using a surge protector and battery backup to avoid frying electronics), but the plain truth is that I've utterly failed to make a robust system and I experience constant hassles. It's like working on my own plumbing -- I acknowledge that I'm not competent to do anything more complicated than replacing a washer, and I don't want my plumbing to be a system so complex that it requires frequent maintenance. Others' mileage may vary, and many people here are certainly more competent than I am at networking. If so, more power to them. But personally, I don't want to stress my rickety system any more than I have to by having my neighbors on it.

A final issue is simply that wifi tends not to propagate very well. Even within my own house, I have trouble getting decent signal strength from downstairs to upstairs. I've installed repeaters and high-gain antennas, and it still doesn't work well. Our house isn't a mcmansion, but we have hardwood floors, and I think the building materials must really attenuate the signals.

Tell cell service providers (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741535)

Some of us can't even share our wifi with our tablets for free.

Used To Be Open (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741547)

My wireless network used to be open so others could use it. I had to put a stop to it last Christmas day, seems like a lot of people in the neighborhood must have gotten laptops, tablets and smartphones that day. Wifi freeloaders simply aren't considerate enough about bandwidth usage, so I had to shut them off.

Legal issues aside... (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741555)

I still wouldn't be able to participate in something like this because of the data caps my monopolistic cable provider has. It's one thing for me to pay for my own monthly usage, but having my limit sucked dry in a few days and either paying a great deal for the overages or having my service cut off goes beyond my willingness to help out.

I lock mine down to avoid the MafIAA (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741585)

one person downloads a tagged file over my system, I can lose my house and retirement. sorry, folks, ain't gonna happen, that port stays locked.

Yea, right (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741595)

Sounds great.

AT&T currently caps my wired land-line DSL connection, and charges outrageous overage fees if I go over their arbitrary limits. (And as past /. posting have indicated, their measurements are highly in dispute and they will not even say how they come up with your supposed usage.) The little old lady next door has already received shocking bills because she used to watch NetFlix on her AT&T DSL connection. So exactly how do I open my already expensive Internet connection without getting nasty bills in the mail from my information and communications monopoly?

Run Linksys at 1 Mbps for free (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741599)

I've been running a little Linksys thingy for years with open access and set to 1 Mbps WiFi, which amounts to about 300 kbps in practise. It is enough for people to check their email and so on and doesn't bother me on my 5 Mbps connection.

Ubiquitous cellular data (1)

RR (64484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42741601)

With 3G cellular common, and with 4G cellular being sold at a tremendous rate, I'm frequently seeing people with more cellular bandwidth than land line bandwidth. Most people don't need their neighbors to open their WiFi to get high speed Internet.

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