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Could That Be The Wireless Police Knocking?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the as-if-from-thin-air dept.


netbuzz writes "Should private-property owners be required to practice safe wireless? Are the wireless police about to come a-knockin' on the front door of your castle? Network World reports on a condo complex in Arizona that will monitor your wireless signal for security. Is this the way all condos and apartment complexes should go?" From the article: "'We just kind of kicked it around the table and everybody said that's a helluva good idea, (mandatory encryption) ought to go in the declarations,' says Welch. However, a lawyer warned that wireless technology could quickly overrun any specific covenants they put to paper, 'so we decided that instead of recording (declarations) at the county that we would leave it up to the hotel manager to put it in their rules and regulations.' Why bother at all? 'We just don't want to see anybody hurt with their wireless system,' says Welch. 'If someone (unauthorized) were accessing it and an owner's information, there could be damage and a potential lawsuit.'"

cancel ×


paper tiger laws (5, Insightful)

adam (1231) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761635)

FTFA: "We just don't want to see anybody hurt with their wireless system," says Welch. "If someone (unauthorized) were accessing it and an owner's information, there could be damage and a potential lawsuit."

absolutely ridiculous. maybe they should start digging through our trash to make sure we've properly shredded our monthly bank statements too.

Furthermore, this rule would be a total paper tiger, as far as enforcement goes, since wep [which i do believe is the most common security protocol in use for wifi today] is widely known NOT to be secure [] . It will be ironic when the first whitehat captures a few days worth of packets from outside that guy's home and then published the unencrypted contents of his web traffic.

Why single out wireless protection? (5, Insightful)

ewireless (963178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761668)

This seems silly. If you want to protect your own private property or not, that's your own business. They don't require you to lock your apartment door when you leave. They don't require you to lock your car door when you park in your parking space. How is this any different?

Re:Why single out wireless protection? (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761722)

They don't require you to lock your car door when you park in your parking space. How is this any different?

It was on (I can't find the link now) and its true that here in Victoria, Australia it is illegal to leave your car unattended with the keys in the ignition. I have an friend with OCD who loves to point that out to people.

Its stupid but it keeps the stupid people happy and gives them something to talk about.

Re:Why single out wireless protection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761782)

It was on (I can't find the link now) and its true that here in Victoria, Australia it is illegal to leave your car unattended with the keys in the ignition.

In Montreal, Canada, it is illegal to leave your car unlocked.

However, Montreal is the only city where I've seen signs that say "Attendez le feu vert" which means "Wait for the green light"

If you have to remind drivers that green means go, they need a lot of help.

Re:Why single out wireless protection? (3, Interesting)

ewireless (963178) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761789)

I'm actually OK with making it illegal to leave your keys in the car ignition because kids could get ahold of it too easily and hurt others. In the extreme, it's probably illegal to leave a loaded gun in your driveway for similar reasons. But I don't see how wireless protection falls into this category. This sounds purely like they're just trying to make you lock the door to your network when it's your own business whether you want to share or not. Of course, if it's against the law or contract to share your wireless connection with your neighbors (something that is true with some DSL contracts), then I can see how an apartment complex might want to try to keep their tenant community from stealing shared service and this whole thing might actually make some sense.

Re:Why single out wireless protection? (1)

freemywrld (821105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761806)

Unless I read the article wrong, it sounds like the complex is providing the broadband access. If that is in fact the case, then is it really too much to ask that residents who choose to setup wireless secure those connections.
I think I would be more apt to call "Foul!" if they were requiring it on people's personal broadband connections, but since the actual bandwidth is owned by Canoa Ranch, then they can technically make whatever rules about it they want.

Re:paper tiger laws (3, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761696)

'If someone (unauthorized) were accessing it and an owner's information, there could be damage and a potential lawsuit.'

I imagine the defense's case going something like this...

Lawyer "Mr. Doe, you set up your own independent wireless network on my client's premises, correct?"

Idiot "Yes."

Lawyer "Mr. Doe, you left the SSID or 'name' of the network at the default value and didn't add any encryption or security?"

Idiot "Yes."

Lawyer "What could my client have done to protect you from your own actions?"

Idiot "They could have made me sign an agreement to not leave a wireless network unsecured."

Lawyer "So, my client is responsible for this because they didn't force you to use safety measures. Is Ford responsible for your ticket because they didn't force you to wear a seatbelt and drive under the posted speed limit?"

Idiot "HEY! Thanks for the idea, I'll sue them next...Uh...What?"


Great defence: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761816)

Uh, listen Judge, I was downloading all those pornz, warez, mooviez to test their wireless security!

Now where is my medal?

Re:paper tiger laws (1)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761895)

This is an incredibly ignorant position.
Enforce using strong encryption at the firmware level is the only option.
If you don't hackers will continue to have their day.

What other option is there?

Re:paper tiger laws (1)

Thadius856 (983674) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761936)

I read through just about every comment here and I'm utterly shocked that I haven't seen somebody with my same point of view... ...if you're so incredibly paranoid about micromanging what your residents do in the privacy of their own home, why not just say that they can only have WIRED networks? Have we seriously already forgotten about the wired router? My wired network is far harder to get into that even the strongest encrypted wireless network.

Re:paper tiger laws (1)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761956)

So are you in favor of setting up a "wired" network with a pubilc IP and open file shares?
That's what an open wireless network is.

Re:paper tiger laws MPAA etc "Protecting You" (1)

Llamakiller-4 (267848) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761952)

BAH, I know lots of people who live in apartments and condos,
all the tech types leave open Mp3 and Video folders and share in the building,
no internet reqd. technically untraceable via the net. The others are clueless
users who are open on the internet as well and dont bother to listen to the
advise of the others in the building who ARE trying to help them.

I doubt your safety is what the cops are after.

Not a law, it's a condo rule. (4, Insightful)

Tetravus (79831) | more than 7 years ago | (#15762003)

There is a difference between laws and condominium covenants you know...

So, the owners decided to implement access point security and pool their resources to provide monitoring (I guess, the article isn't too clear on enforcement methodology). Why isn't the /. crowd applauding end users for not only caring about their networks but actually taking pro-active steps to prevent break ins? Sure, it's not a perfect solution, but it's certainly better than the status-quo and it keeps over zealous government types from being able to create actual laws to enforce this behavior ("Look, we've already got encryption. No need to legislate it.").

no (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761637)


oh thank you nanny state (5, Insightful)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761646)

i will never have to learn from my mistakes ever again.

Re:oh thank you nanny state (1)

reldruH (956292) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761844)

Thank you. You absolutely hit the nail on the head. The most effective way to learn something (besides teaching it) is to have there be consequences for not learning it. I'm so tired of governments, companies and now landlords trying to protect me from myself. I think a recommendation should be put in place that encrypting wireless traffic makes things safer (a bad encryption is still better than no encryption) but beyond that let people make their own decisions, otherwise they'll never understand the reasons behind them and will just make the same mistakes in other areas. If the only reason somebody encrypts their wireless network is because they're forced to they won't understand why they're doing it and won't see any need to put their wired internet connection behind a firewall. Take that same person, recommend they use WEP or WAP, but let them choose not to and eventually either they'll get burned or they'll know somebody who did and they'll do a little bit of research, realize why encryption and firewalls and lots of other things are important. Then you've got a person who is that much more able to take care of themselves on the internet. Otherwise, you have to keep passing more and more laws protecting people from themselves and the last thing we need is more beaurocracy.

Potential lawsuit? (2, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761647)

You're finding a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. People aren't going to sue you because their wireless network is insecure, and if they did, they'd be laughed out of court.

Besides, maybe some people don't care if they open up their internet connection! As long as they keep their PC(s) reasonably firewalled, and perhaps use an alternate form of encryption at a higher level, it's possible to open up one's internet connection without opening up one's internal network.

Re:Potential lawsuit? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761681)

If you want to share your internet connection, that's why you can give out your key to whoever you want to be able to use it.

Even assuming a person's computer is 100% protected, someone could still piggyback on their connection to do various illegal things involving the internet, as well as things that will get the **AA to drag YOU to court. Or they could always run p2p apps full blast and slow your connection to a crawl.

Re:Potential lawsuit? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761697)

If you want to share your internet connection, that's why you can give out your key to whoever you want to be able to use it.

Outside of the fact that this sentence doesn't parse, are you saying that I should be required to encrypt my network, but allowed to post the key on my front door?


Re:Potential lawsuit? (1)

creepynut (933825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761730)

Not post the key on the front door. Give a copy of the key to anyone you allow in. Hence, the "give out your key to whomever you want to be able to use it"

Re:Potential lawsuit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761919)

And if you want anyone and everyone to use it? You put a billboard up or something?

Re:Potential lawsuit? (2, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761718)

It's still my right to do what I want with my equipment.

Whether or not you could say that I am responsible for what use people make of it is for the courts to decide.

Re:Potential lawsuit? (2, Interesting)

karmatic (776420) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761946)

You know, this goes both ways.

The RIAA may be able to sue you for what someone else does; however, it does provide a certain level of plausable deniability when _you_ are the one doing it in the first place.

Re:Potential lawsuit? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761685)

Besides, maybe some people don't care if they open up their internet connection!

I run an open AP in my house. There might be enough range for my neighbours on the west side to use it and thats fine with me. I have a 48G/month cable connection. Traffic between my nodes runs over SSH or a different SSL application.

These people should just get a wireless service for the entire complex and be done with it. Wireless access is rapidly becoming a free loss leader anyway.

Re:Potential lawsuit? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761739)

When you share your access point, you're uploading COMMUNISM!

Re:Potential lawsuit? (1)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761978)

People are being sued.
Havent you heard of the RIAA?

Thank you for leaving your wireless access point open btw
I love down loading all sorts of illegal stuff using the network you paid for.

catch me, then prove it, if you can.

Rediculous... (5, Insightful)

Xserv (909355) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761660)

This is a waste of time and money. People should secure their own networks. If you don't know how then you pay someone to do it for you. If you can't afford it, then how are you able to afford a wireless network. Period.

Why should any government, company or anyone else worry about someone else's network connection security -- unless they're being paid by that party to do so. And in the case of a government (city/state/local/federal) being responsible; don't make ME pay for it.


People are not informed when buying (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761698)

Most of the time the people selling the wirless products to home users don't let them know of the dangers of having an unsecured connection, i have seen people in dept. stores say "its easy just take it home and plug it in". The same goes for ISP's pushing them out to their customers.

The fact is we have salesmen taking advantage of people who don't know any better buy offering them all of the glitz and not alerting them to any basic precautions they will take.

Some of my clients did not even know of the dangers till they rang me up to get me to configure it for them.

More responsibility should be placed onto the salespeople to make sure their customers understand just what exatly they are buying.

Re:People are not informed when buying (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761800)

While I agree, I think people merely taking the five seconds to read the big brightly-colored notice in 72pt bold saying to go into the configuration and enable security, with idiotproof instructions on the back, really should take care of this problem. I honestly don't know how much more obvious it could be made, but I'm sure the masses would find some way to ignore that too. AFAIK some wireless gear already includes something similar, if not all, and turning on some form of security on my router was the easiest networking-related thing I've ever done.

Giving stupid people technology is the problem. Not even so much stupid people as those that absolutely refuse to RTFM under any circumstances, simply because they "should be able to just plug it in and have it work, or else it's broken". Until some form of security comes pre-enabled, there will be millions of open access points across the country.

Re:Rediculous... (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761854)

This isn't a government agency, it's a condo board. Much worse. It's made up of a bunch of busybodies who have nothing better to do with their time so they go to board meetings and scheme up ways to control peoples' lives. This is the kind of thing that happens when they try to regulate something that 99% of them know nothing about.

Re:Rediculous... (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761881)

If you can't afford it, then how are you able to afford a wireless network. Period.

Oddly enough, no, a question mark would fit much better there.

Re:Rediculous... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761901)

This is a waste of time and money. People should secure their own networks.

Even this is absurd. People should *SHARE* their own networks.

Having the police protect the profits of the DSL/Phone companies is an absurd waste of tax resources. There's no reason why my whole apartment block shouldn't share my network so long as my QOS features don't let them interfere with my browsing.

Yes, my network is open on purpose. I cover the coffee shop on one corner of our apartment block, and a friend covers the coffee shop on the other.

And Yes, my firewall protects my computer from other people on my wireless network.

Re:Rediculous... (1)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761926)

Why encourage recklessness with week setup options when installing a wireless network?

Re:Rediculous... (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#15762020)

They could make the configuration a bit easier.

For instance, usb port in the wireless
router. Telnet to the device to configure, have all the
configuration data generated by the router written to a
USB drive in a ( hopefully standard ) way. Then walk
the drive over to each of the machines that you want to have
connected, and have an app on the machine that is installed
when you install the drivers suck the data off the drive
and configure the client. Key length would be less of an
issue. Key exchange would be easy, and hard to intercept.

Open Nodes (0)

Aqws (932918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761664)

The default for all wireless routers should be to allow traffic from anyone, but to give the owner priority.

Re:Open Nodes (1)

creepynut (933825) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761735)

How does it know who's the owner?

Re:Open Nodes (1)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761991)

When its open I am the owner
then I am gone
catch me if you can

Re:Open Nodes (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761744)

The default for all wireless routers should be to allow traffic from anyone, but to give the owner priority.

The default for all cars, bicycles, jet aircraft and MRI machines should be to allow use by anyone, but to give the owner priority.

Re:Open Nodes (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761877)

WTF? What are you, 12 years old?

Re:Open Nodes (1)

LunarCrisis (966179) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761931)

Two critical reasons that your analogy is invalid:

1) Other people using your internet does not prevent you from using it.

2) People cannot ruin your internet by e.g. crashing it into a wall.

should I... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761665)

get blamed when someone breaks into my house if I leave the door unlocked?

Or should I be blamed when Windows automatically connects me to open APs?

And...If we are going to go that far?

Why not get these people in trouble for using WEP to begin with?

Safe wireless? WEP is like using a condom that's been poked with holes.

no thanks (3, Interesting)

eliot1785 (987810) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761667)

Could it be that maybe, just maybe, somebody wants to actually SHARE? Sacrilege, I know.

Overall, I am worried that people these days consistently seem to say "I'm not in favor of too much regulation, but this specific piece seems pretty good."

Uh huh. You know the slippery slope has started to apply when people say that about such inane proposals as this one.

Re:no thanks (2, Informative)

eliot1785 (987810) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761699)

BTW my second sentence was in reference to the following quote:

--> "I am generally opposed to government infringing on individual rights," offers Jim Albright. "I think Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said, 'Those who are willing to sacrifice essential liberties for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.' That being said, I am absolutely in favor of regulation requiring not just business-installed but all wireless networks to be secure. It is a long-standing premise that the rights of an individual end where they begin to infringe on the rights of others."

A beautiful quote by Ben Franklin ruined by a complete lack of understanding of both liberty and technology. How exactly am I infringing somebody else's rights by leaving my wireless network open? The answer is I am not.

So here is my counter statement:

--> "I am generally opposed to government infringing on individual rights," offers eliot1785. "I think Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said, 'Those who are willing to sacrifice essential liberties for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.' That being said, I am absolutely in favor of regulation banning stupid people from talking. It is a long-standing premise that the rights of an individual end when stupid people are allowed to offer opinions on the extent of those rights."

Re:no thanks (1)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761713)

I totally agree. I have an AP at home that I do not secure out of principle. I want to share it (that, and, I am too lazy to bother configuring both the router and the wireless cards)

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761864)

Well, I know where I'm going when I want to download child porn and launch spambot attacks

Frack that noise.

Re:no thanks (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15762012)

Yeah, I'd spend a lot of time worrying about that.

I don't lock my garage either, and there hasn't been a single orgy.

People too dumb to use computers (2, Insightful)

PingXao (153057) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761670)

They shouldn't be using computers at all. No amount of rules and regulations is going to turn a computer-illiterate user into a savvy one. If someone is too dumb to figure it out or ask someone for a little help they deserve whatever they get. It really is that simple. All this "we need to protect people from themselves" stuff is nonsense. It won't work. Leave it alone. The threat of someone using your open wifi network to download kiddie porn is what, about 0.0000001? "Oh we need rules to protect unaware people from that risk!" Bull fucking shit.

rual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761673)

Question... what if you lived in the middle of BFN (read nowhere) and there was 1 access road running at the very edge of WiFi)... would you require encription? My housemates do not, surpriseingly, have en. installed.

dumb (1)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761676)

The government needs to quit protecting the stupid.
Yeah it may be "a hellova idea".. for someone to do on their own.

And how would anyone prove my network wasn't secure? You going to break in? Then I'm suing That person..

Re:dumb (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761691)

You really seem to misunderstand civilisation.

Re:dumb (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761870)

Civilization needs a better purpose.

Protecting stupid people and allowing them to breed unchallenged will pollute the gene pool.

Condo Association != Government (1)

The Monster (227884) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761858)

The government needs to quit protecting the stupid
While I agree completely with this statement, that's not what TFA is about. It's about a condo association trying to protect its members. That is a matter of private contracts between people who agree to restrain their own behavior in exchange for perceived benefits.

A condo association might legitimately go so far as to forbid individual residents from setting up wireless networks, and instead have the association itself set them up, imposing some particluar encryption regime, since interference between the wifi setups in a condo could affect everyone's ability to use them. And if you know those are the rules when you buy your unit, and agree to those rules, then presumably it's because you like it that way.

Government, OTOH, imposes rules on people against their will, so it should only be employed where someone's person or property is being transgressed (against their informed consent).

Ludicrous (4, Insightful)

z_gringo (452163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761694)

That is just nuts!

I run mine wide open because that is they way I want it. I secure my machine of course, but if someone is within range and wants to use my connection, I don't have a problem with that. Hell, my SID is actually "WideOpen".

I used my neighbor's DSL for over a year, but I eventually got my own. There is no reason every house on a block should purchase their own Internet connection, and wireless network. Apartment buildings are in an even better situation. All that money that people are spending on individual connections could purchase a lot higher speed connection for everyone and still save money.

Re:Ludicrous (2, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761741)

I used my neighbor's DSL for over a year... - With his permission? But probably against his TOS.

There is no reason every house on a block should purchase their own Internet connection... Yeah, and maybe you should all share one cable TV hookup too.

The reason is because the providers of those services are selling them for use by one household per subscription.

When Leftists Attack!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761788)

This is just pure nanny-state-ism.

Hey guess what? I know how you should run your life and I am going to ram that down your throat.
You see I am better than all you Plebs/Proletariats. So, I'll just take over this aristocratic position and begin dictating the way you should live your life. What you have a problem with that? Well you must be an ignorant redneck bigot. See how open minded I am.
How needs democracy when I am better than you?

Next thing you know the Democrats (the Party of Tolerance) will be kicking some Jew out of their party.

Re:Ludicrous (2, Insightful)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761970)


As a potential hacker I launched 4 viruses and downloaded 4 gigs of MP3's using your network.
All traceable back to you.
I spoofed my mac address
thank you.

ridiculous (3, Insightful)

thdexter (239625) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761715)

I know several people who leave theirs open for neighbors and friends to use without encumberance. It's a nice gesture, one in which a private good becomes a public good via goodwill. Even with bittorrent running I'm not using all of my bandwidth at all times.

Besides this, do we mandate that folks lock their car and house doors? Are there laws against leaving a key under the rug, on the door frame, or below your car door?

Re:ridiculous (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761833)

Are there laws against leaving a key under the rug, on the door frame, or below your car door?

Actually, you could enforce the DMCA to protect your novel method of "secure access".

"required gun" laws.. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761873)

there is a law in the town neighboring mine that each household must own at least one gun.. i kid you not.

keep in mind my state is in the extreme red area of the political spectrum, but the effectiveness of such deterrance programs are hard to gage.. Needless to say though when we used to live there we never had a breakin. (then again, no breakins in this town either)

In other news. . . (2, Insightful)

LunarCrisis (966179) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761728)

In other news, it is now illegal to give money to the poor.

"Imagine what could happen. Someone could give someone some money, go home, and realize that they needed that money! Just imaging the potential lawsuits! Everyone is much better off this way."

Re:In other news. . . (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761740)

Giving money to the poor ought to be illegal. Those fuckers should either get a job or starve, before they breed more losers.

Yea, about those poor homeless people... ):-/ (1)

kullnd (760403) | more than 7 years ago | (#15762039)

Has nothing to do with this issue. But, if you want to hit up that topic, maybe you should think about what your saying before you open your mouth.

A lot of those "fuckers" that you think should starve are Military Vets, the guys that fought our wars for us, the guys that watched their friends die or may have even taken a bullet for us.

It's awsome that you think they should just die. Your such a great guy.

It would be really kick ass if this country took care of those who fought for it, especially those who HAD normal lives and would of really turned out to be something, except the gov't forced them into Nam ... Do you think they deserve to starve?

Like I said, think about what your about to say, then open your mouth. Until then, shut up and get a clue.

Re:In other news. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761748)

I think I heard something about Las Vegas passing a law to prevent people from feeding the homeless. And I am almost certain in most places it is illegal to put money in a parking meter you are not using, but that is probably more about city revenues.

FCC (3, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761773)

I'd argue that their rules are preempted by the FCC's regulations on spectrum use. The FCC usually takes a dim view of people who trespass on their turf.

Not a spectrum issue.. (1)

Kiaser Wilhelm II (902309) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761993)

The FCC does not regulate network security.


What If... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761774)

You don't run WEP/WPA because you don't trust it, but do require any nodes on the wireless LAN to establish a VPN connection to a server before they can connect to the Internet? What if you want to allow people to pay you to access the Internet through your cnnection? I don't think the police or some homeowner's association would be able to tell the difference...

I do find the whole concept of mandatory encryption rather ironic though. Would that it were the case for email, VOIP or Internet connections in general...

Here is what you should think about (3, Insightful)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761777)

Suppose a known sex offender began moving child porn over YOUR wireless network.

I would love to see you explain that away as an "oops, I forgot to turn encryption and
authentification on" to the police following the pervert. They will FIRST get you for
aiding and abetting the crime.

This stuff, security, only makes sense in today's world.

retard (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761813)

you are fucking retarded

leaving a wireless point unsecured has NEVER, NOT ONCE been treated as aiding and abetting, not even close.

Re:Here is what you should think about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761893)


Child Sex Offender starts moving porn over your unsecured network.

You : well I leave my wireless unsecured... see
Cops : Hmm... that's pretty stupid of you

Child Sex offender starts moving porn over yuor network after he cracked your WEP password

You : well I secure access with encryption so only people who know the password can use it
Cops : please accompany us to the station.

Re:Here is what you should think about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761911)

You have the exact same risk when you leave your US Postal mailbox unlocked. People can use that to distribute the same content even more easily than your wireless box.

Plz tell how you secured that box.

Re:Here is what you should think about (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761925)

So... if I leave my frount door open, I am robed, someone steals my gun (it's reported), then the robber kills someone with my gun, I was "aiding and abetting" them to kill the person?

This is why people with no insight shouldn't talk like they do.

Re:Here is what you should think about (3, Informative)

karmatic (776420) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761968)

There's a reason the law requires "beyond a reasonable doubt" for criminal cases. Let's examine a "worst case" scenario:

So, the cops find child porn online - what happens? They contact the ISP, perhaps get a warrant for the DHCP logs.
The logs show it was your IP. This gives them... probable cause for a search warrant. You get a nice visit from the friendly police squad, and they take your PC(s) as evidence.
Upon looking through your PC, they find *gasp* all kinds of porn, just no kiddie porn. Guess what, they have no case. They either drop it (likely, especially if you can demonstrate you had an open AP), or you get to rely on a judge or jury to drop it for them.

Eventually, justice prevails (possibly after a couple appeals and a lot of money), you get your stuff back, and you aren't convicted of anything.

Does it suck? Sure. That doesn't change the fact that you are an idiot, and "aiding and abetting" requires, among other things, mens rea (criminal intent). In other words, they have to demonstrate that you intended to violate the law. (There are civil issues, but we're talking criminal here).

It may be _unpleasant_ when someone uses your connection for something illegal; however, that doesn't automatically mean you are liable. In fact, courts tend to be hesitant to assign liability to ISPs that do not knowingly facilitate crimes. Imagine if Cox/Comcast were responsible for every illegal action performed by their users online. It would be "death by lawyers" for the internet.

Re:Here is what you should think about (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#15762029)

Eidiculous arguemtn. BEsides the fact there are worse things in this world that sex offenders. There are other ways to get onto the internet besides YOUR wireless router. And being YOUR wireless router you could always put in censoring.

Sharing your wireless connection (2, Interesting)

Snowtide (989191) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761779)

I would just like to continue the idea that some of us deliberately leave our wireless networks open to share. I do live in an apartment building, I also pay a fair amount of money to have multiple static IP's, I don't use all that bandwidth all the time so I leave my wireless network open. It costs me nothing and benefits people around me in a small way. I've met a few more of my neighbors who came by by to thank me for leaving my connection open. That last behavior is rare I know but it is nice to meet people in my building I might not normally. I am curious though, what if you limit access to your wireless network by MAC address recognition instead of encryption, are the wireless police still supposed to come knocking on your door? Getting wireless hardware from different manufacturers to cooperate while using encryption can be a hassle. Yes I am sure there are spelling and other errors in this post, and I should know better, but I am leaving them in because it is past my bed time and I am providing a public service by giving the grammar police an outlet. :)

Re:Sharing your wireless connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761834)

I am a landlord and I deliberately leave my wireless open on the grounds that it saves me tons of money.

I happen to live in the building and have residential broadband which costs less than 50$ a month, which I would be paying anyway. If I wanted to officially offer broadband to my tenants I would be required to get an identical connection that costs more than double, plus a fee for each seat. If however I happen to not secure my wireless, and pay no attention to who is using it, then my tenants have the advantage of free broadband without any significant expense on my part.

The question then becomes "is it safe for me to do this". Since my tenants are technically stealing my service, I doubt I could be held liable for much. The down side is that a malicious tenant (or a wardriver) might make trouble for the other tenants, but again, my liability, so far as I understand, is questionable at best. My pipe comes Through a fairly secure Linux box so I think its at least somewhat safe at least for me.
I'm torn as to whether to turn logging on though. It would allow me to shut down miscreants, but could possibly be used against me by implying that I know who is using the network.

Re:Sharing your wireless connection (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761914)

I speak from experience when I say that even if you do get encryption working right between multiple vendors, you could still run into trouble with performance/usability. I had an encrypted wireless net, and it actually caused me a whole bunch of headaches getting the security to work right under Vista, XP, Slackware (the only one that did exactly what I wanted it to do, actually), 2k, and NetBSD. One system would work right, but another would take 5 minutes to authenticate every time I booted. Another would lose the connection if I wasn't using it. Still others would work, but have incredible lag with each packet because of the encryption/decryption (the computer in question was an Athlon 1.2GHz with 256MB of RAM, running XP Pro).

Ultimately, I killed encryption and turned on MAC filtering and stricter authentication for accessing network resources like the printer, fileserver, and mail. *everything* is a whole lot faster, now, and I have yet to have problems getting a new piece of hardware working on the network since doing that. Yet no doubt, these kind folks described in the article would yell at me for not using encryption....

Re:Sharing your wireless connection (1)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761942)

It's economical. Despite being a tad illegal, several of my neighbors share one cable connection through a wireless router. Since the only ones using much bandwidth are the fellas that own it, they're perfectly fine with sharing their internet with a few neighbors who use laptops to check email and browse the web in exchange for a few bucks a month. They use a MAC filter and run some kind of log to ensure nobody's going too bandwidth-greedy. All-in-all, its cheaper to get cable and cable internet then sell/share a bit of it than to have a phone line and a DSL modem in a two person apartment.

Friend's experience with guest access (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761977)

A friend of mine used to leave his wireless open, figuring it was his civic duty to let the neighbors' teenagers have uncensored net access. It was fine for a while, but eventually somebody started doing too much P2P traffic and his wireless performance got unusable, so he closed it down.

In my building, there are at least two unencrypted wireless connections. One's mine; the other is a neighbor with a Belkin node. I can see 3-4 other encrypted connections. Occasionally something goes wrong with my connection (DSL flakiness or whatever) and I'll piggyback off my neighbor for a few days, and of course occasionally my laptop decides it would rather use my neighbor's signal instead of mine for no particular reason, which tends to disconnect my work VPN.

Why not provide it as a service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761801)

If the condo association is so concerned about it, why not make wifi a service of the complex? What they have now is the equivalent of everyone having their own gas powered generator in their condo.

It sounds like the peoplt there are hip, why not toss in a couple hundred bucks per condo, get a T3 or higher to the complex and have wifi all over? Probably a lot cheaper than each one paying $50-100 a month for internet service. And then it becomes a draw to the complex as now they have "free" wifi, increasing their property values.

Many Reasons... (1, Flamebait)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761805)

Many cities require property owners to clean/paint over any graffitti; uncontrolled internet access could be used to deface sites.

You can't display a corpse, or a facsimile of a corpse in public in most US counties; uncontrolled internet access could be used to spam goatse.

It's also often illegal to leave your car keys in view in/around your car unattended; You have the responsablity to control your tools.

You can't wear a ski mask into a bank, no matter how cold it is; anonymous internet access could be used to commit a crime.

As a 'public nuisance' the nuisance would have to be weighed aganist the benifit, dairy farms stink, but I do like to eat cheese.

NOT a big-government issue (2, Insightful)

neatfoote (951656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761808)

Before the discussion slides predictably towards vague diatribe on governmental encroachment and abuses of state power, I just wanted to point out that this is not something that's being proposed or enforced by the government at any level; it's strictly a question of managers of private condo complexes making "secure" wireless one of the many (arguably draconian) regulations already in place for people who wish to live there.

We may still not think it's a good idea, of course, but the fact that it's being implemented by private individuals makes a big difference-- I'd get stroppy if my state governor said I couldn't own a dog, but I'll accept the same restriction from my apartment super with no objections.

Re:NOT a big-government issue (1)

Noxal (816780) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761835)

...arguably draconian...

Hey now, let's not discriminate against dragons, now, hey now.

Re:NOT a big-government issue (1)

tom's a-cold (253195) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761953)

We may still not think it's a good idea, of course, but the fact that it's being implemented by private individuals makes a big difference--

I'm more oppressed by private entities these days than by our (increasingly oppressive) government. Nosy employers, sinister, lying HMOs (the "M" stands for "denial"), unaccountable credit-rating agencies, telcos colluding with illegal eavesdropping. Not that the distinction between business and government is all that meaningful anymore.

I don't really care whether the boot on the back of my neck is public or private. I just want to get it off me. And the so-called market is rigged, so don't give me that "don't like your electric company/HMO/Baby Bell? Go to the competition" silliness.

And what does the FCC say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761810)

I am sure the FCC regulations will trump all these petty dictators with too much time on their hands.

2.4 GHz is an unlicensed & unregulated band, provided you stay within certain power limits.

Re:And what does the FCC say : nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761984)

RF is not being regulated, network access, which is not under FCC's jurisdiction, is.

Too much of a good thing. (1)

Apraxhren (964852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761811)

Well I would disagree with what seems to be the majority of comments that this is a bad thing in concept. However I do think they took it too far, mandating virtually anything usually is not the best solution. Rather the building/community would be better served by a proactive offering of assistance. Say one had an open access point, the management realize and offer their assistance to the owner to secure it if they would like. No mandatory anything, but still informing the owner of something he may not know about. Heck even some entrepreneurs could solicit their services for this. The one thing I dislike is the lack of education that is aimed for those who don't have the time to devote to computers. We just call them stupid as if they are supposed to be born with such knowledge.

As long as... (1)

Davus (905996) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761826)

As long as there were a way to opt-out, with some way of showing that you are, indeed, able to manage an unencrypted network, it'd be alright with me. Plus, has not 2WIRE already practically dominated homes with WEP? I rarely find a non-encrypted 2WIRE, and the only one I have was of a fellow geeky friend who intended it that way. This is moreso the job of router manufacturers, not a matter of law.

Kiddy Porn Madness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761837)

Oh no, a child molester could use your open wireless network to download kiddy porn? And? It's not as if the FBI can't check your hard drive, and see wow, I guess he probably didn't download that porn, since there isn't a trace of it. Besides, have you ever heard of an actual case of this happening? I'd love to see it, as it appears to be an urban legend, just like the FBI knocking at your door after you download stuff off of BT.

Won't anybody think of the users? (4, Interesting)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761848)

My first reaction was "Good Lord, how stupid can people get?" - I mean, does this mean that if you set up a wireless network in accordance with their regulations, and it still gets abused (through WEP weaknesses or whatever), they have implicitly invited you to sue them?

But then I thought back to ohhh, yesterday, when I was wrapping up a work trip to Thailand. When I arrived I had bought a SIM card at a dusty little family shop and the cashier who installed it into my phone signed me up for a bunch of promo offers including the loathsome Calling Melody (which I never figured out how to disable) and 50 free hours of GPRS (pretty good considering the card cost me US$7.50).

My hotels had free wifi so I didn't end up using that much of the GPRS time. Yesterday, at the airport, I figured I might as well use some more of it up, so I popped open the trusty iBook and turned on internet sharing with SSID name "Free Internet!"

Within 15 minutes I had 5 or 6 people on it (must have been painfully slow for them). I was too tired to do anything useful, but just for the heck of it I started up ethereal to see to what ends my largesse was being used. It was remarkable how trusting (or probably ignorant) people were - as well as how many unencrypted port-80 webmail servers and office intranets there are out there.

So maybe the real value of the rule in TFA is to protect the users from themselves, rather than protecting the AP owners. When you connect to an unknown AP you never really know what could be going on with your traffic unless you encrypt and authenticate it.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761853)

Look, you cannot force people to play it safe. There are so many examples of that sort of thing failing that it should just be taken as a fact of life. Most people simply don't value safety, like they don't value natural rights, until it's too late and the evil people, criminal or government agent, are hurting them.

Wireless safety is part of that. Part of the problem is that Windows has a very clunky user interface for specifying a strong encryption key. Something as painless as PGP would be very nice.

The police have a valid concern that criminals could exploit these holes and frame ordinary people. However, technical solutions don't work except in simple cases. In fact, in non-"high tech" cases, it wouldn't be a real concern. Where are the laws requiring people to lock up their home so that someone cannot break in and use their bedroom as a sniper post? The lock is hardly a hindrance to these sort of people.

In most crimes, the wireless security is beside the point. People can crack it with enough time and dedication. Worrying about wireless security problems is akin to worrying about a hershey's kiss making you fat while you have a bucket of fried chicken, a bucket of gravy-slathered mash potatos and a 2 liter bottle of coke for your own consumption.

Could there be a darker design? (2, Insightful)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761855)

1) Become cable company 2) Offer high(nyuk-nyuk) speed internet at an already inflated price 3) Kick back to condo associations 4) Make it illegal to share internet access 5) Profit!

fuck 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15761860)

Quickly, this reminds me of home-owners associations and condo associations that totally ignore rights regarding the reception of tv & satellite signals. They ban dishes and antennas when they have no right to do so and get slapped down when challenged (in the USA). Whether or not it is a good idea'r, they'd have better luck trying to stop the usage of cordless phones. But, repeat after me asshole-boardseat holders, "i am not the FCC, i am not the FCC, i am not the FCC...".

The Truth (1)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761865)

Wireless networks should not be able to be setup without encryption.
As it stands now anyone wanting to release virus's or download anything can do so by driving up to almost any hotel in the US.

Any resident with an unencrypted network is subject to their network being used for -any- purpose.

Firmware makers should be required to make encryption a default setup value.

Hackers and mal contents need not worry about their actions.

I smell coffee...

No regulation please! (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761878)

I think we can all agree is that the last thing we need on any technology is more legalistic regulation. Laws like these make criminals out of every-day people doing every-day things.

I do not want to have to manage my own personal network based on ridiculous laws. Of course, I would secure a wireless network if I had one (I currently don't), but I want to do it because I know it's what needs to be done to protect my privacy the way I need to, and not because I'm being forced to by law.

There may be some people who want to leave their network open, perhaps for their neighbor(s) to use, or perhaps a hotel that doesn't want to bother managing network security (it's certainly obvious enough at the time of connection when a network is not secured and that its users are to connect at their own risk). This could, in some cases, violate an ISP's terms of service, but then that's a matter for this customer's ISP to deal with, and should not be a criminal offense. And then, this kind of becomes a bit of a societal issue. When technology advances as is innovated, laws and service terms should change to embrace it, not restrict it. For example, an ISP providing a DSL or cable connection to a customer who shares the line wirelessly could simply charge for more bandwidth if their fixed-price "buffer" is exceeded. That would be an example of service terms embracing technology. But, now I'm getting to a whole other discussion for another story.

The point is: let people have their technology and use it how they want it. If you get burned somehow from not understanding the risks of using it in a certain way, then you'll learn from your mistake(s).

But.... (1)

Venalicius (988246) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761880)

Well I figured I'd say goodbye too everyone here... When this law passes so does my internet. Wireless Piracy- The poor man's internet

OpenVPN (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761885)

Great, so now if I'm disabling my wireless card's weak encryption, and instead using a proper firewall and OpenVPN connection behind the AP, the condo board is going to come after me because my "wireless" is allegedly insecure?

Seriously, if you don't at least know what indistinguishability under adaptive chosen-ciphertext attack is, you shouldn't be making security policy.

Re:OpenVPN (1)

erexx23 (935832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761910)

No someone else will be coming at you because they think you are the perpetrator of a crime you didn't commit.
Secure your network or suffer the consequences.

The least we can ask is that firmware makers make encryption required setup value.

Re:OpenVPN (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#15762038)

You, sir, are exactly the kind of person I was talking about. Do you know what IND-CCA2 is? I didn't think so.

My entire point is that I would disable the access point's crappy built-in security mechanism and use something that is actually strong. I actually did this for a number of years after the RC4 cryptanalysis.

I didn't expect... (3, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761922)

"Nobody expects the Wireless Police!"

How secure is "guest" access? (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#15761994)

I want to have my data encrypted, but I want my guests to be able to access the net, and if passersby want to freeload a bit, that's fine too. If I set my SSID to "password==guest" and let people log in with "guest" as the authentication system password, will my data channel still be usefully encrypted, or does knowing the access password let people eavesdrop on my connections?
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