Why is it Illegal to Use my Neighbor’s Wireless Internet?

By Jay White

February 11, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

With the large number of wireless internet accounts around, it is quite easy to find a line that is not password-protected, and to sign on and take advantage of the free wifi. However, this is, by technical letter of the law, stealing. Because of this, it is illegal. For those who would argue that taking the resource is not hurting anything, here are the reasons why it might be something that would be brought to the attention of the authorities.

1. Using Something Without Permission is Stealing:

If it is not yours, and you take it, then you are stealing. Borrowing without permission is not different. This is something that was taught to you in childhood, and likely reiterated more than once if you had siblings, or if you liked to “shop” in other people’s rooms, closets, or garages. As an adult, or even a teen, using someone else’s internet without permission is no different.

2. Borrowing Wifi Means Sharing Bandwidth:

For those of you who argue that it doesn’t matter, remember that Wifi is finite, based on the amount of bandwidth that a person sobscribes to, or, more and more often, the limited version of the subscribed bandwidth that they receive due to overclogged networks. In some cases, this can damage the value of what they are paying for, as your online game splits the bandwidth too far for them to skype with relatives, or stream a recap of their favorite sport. If they are working from home, your internet comtribution may prevent them from staying connected to an important business webinar, or making a stock trade in time to get maximum profit. In this case, you have not just cost them the full value of their internet service subscription, you have taken money from their pockets.

3. Unknowingly Sharing WiFi Can Mean Being an Accomplice:

If you are doing something illegal online, they are an unwitting accomplice to this if they are providing the bandwidth. This can be something that is also illegal but done anyway, ilke pirating songs, or it can be something much more serious. Hacking, identity theft, selling contraband, and even terrorism are all things that are considered high prosecution items. If you engage in these actions while on someone else’s WiFi, they will need to be able to show that they did not know about your internet usage in order to keep from being charged as an accomplice.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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