Every techie I know says that you shouldn’t use other people’s networks without permission. Every techie I know does it anyway.

If you’re going to steal—no, let’s say borrow—your neighbor’s Wi-Fi access, you might as well do it right. Step one: Lose the guilt. The FCC told me that they don’t know of any federal or state laws that make it illegal to log on to an open network. Using someone’s connection to check your e-mail isn’t like hacking into their bank account. It’s more like you’re borrowing a cup of sugar. (Unless you hog their bandwidth by watching lots of streaming video—that’s like hijacking a sugar truck.)



In the end, it’s your neighbor’s Internet service provider—not your neighbor—who will pay for the added traffic, and the ISP has already factored a small amount of line-sharing into their price plan. It is true that your surfing could cause the folks next door to break their service contract—many broadband providers do specifically forbid home customers from sharing a connection. But let’s deal with those abstract ethical issues later—you have important mail to answer!



More here.

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