FreeWifi: Steal my Bytes

I tend to get a a fair number of puzzled and paranoid stares when I let people know that I provide an open, free-for-all, uninhibited wireless network at home. This is usually followed by the “stealing of bandwidth” or “security” queries, which I brush over with an “I don’t care, maybe I’m a communist” comment because I’ve never bothered to build a justified argument. I simply believe that bandwidth should be as free as possible for everyone.

Fortunately Bruce Schneier has hit the nail on the head and put some juice behind my arguments with his Wired column “Steal This Wi-Fi”. I’m pretty sure I was aware of Mr Schneier’s sentiments in this regard before this column was published – I suspect it is mentioned in one of his books – and this was probably the inspiration for me to emulate this behaviour in my own home setup. Well worth the read – make no mistake, Bruce is a really smart guy.

Unlike me, living in a country with a scarcity of bandwidth is something Bruce probably does not have to contend with very much. This can dramatically increase the cost of the “theft” of bandwidth, but at the same time this is strongly contested by arguing for the increased value of providing free access in a bandwidth-poor country.

Link to article.

Technorati Tags: schneier, bruceschneier, security, wifi, open, free, wired

Join the Conversation

3 Comments

  1. I used to have an open wi-fi at home as well. I don’t have any wi-fi now, because things have changed, I don’t need it, and the routers at my brother (who now has open wi-fi, when he has my modem).

    I really wouldn’t mind the neighbours using it (mind you, I don’t know what the range is like, in SA we have fairly big properties, not like overseas where you would live in a flat, and your neighboursis the distance from your kitchen to bathroom over here, so I don’t even know if they could), or somebody parking outside the front of the house using it..

    The reason is, apart from just not bothering to encrypt it, is that if I had a neighbours with open wi-fi I would be more than willing to use it, I just feel it’s fair to do the same…

    infact, we should come up with a logo that we can put outside our house to indicate that we are open, but like a secret logo, so you will only know what it means if you are also open, or even an “open” open sign, whatever.

    Oh yes, my point, what was that, I don’t think in South Africa the deal of having open Wi-Fi is that big. How many people here even know what it is.. I don’t even know if my neighbours have a computer.

  2. infact, we should come up with a logo that we can put outside our house to indicate that we are open, but like a secret logo, so you will only know what it means if you are also open, or even an “open” open sign, whatever.

    Already done: Warchalking

    –Bob.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: