Who has been using my WIFI?


Not as innocent as you think
I read a Mashable post highlighting a serious point regarding wifi theft.

'The Tech Guy', a radio phone-in show, finds itself taking a call from a woman who wishes to complain that the free wifi she was stealing from someone else in the building where she lived had suddenly stopped.

She then gets irate that she can no longer access the old interweb, and decides to buy a booster rather than actually pay for broadband access.

This really is a serious issue.  I don't like the thought of paying for my broadband, only to have some numpti also use it for free.

Now, the last few providers I have used integrated their broadband with a specialised router.  With one provider, you had to physically push a button on the router they sent in order to activate the ability to input the password and connect up.  Even with this I have read that in a survey by Sophos in 2007 showed that 54% of respondents have knowingly used someone else's WIFI without permission.

It needs to be noted that in the UK it is illegal to use someone else's WIFI without their permission.  It may also invalidate the broadband contract if the owner does allow it to happen (just go and check your contract with your broadband provider and you will probably find that you are not allowed to share your connection with others)

Using someone else's WIFI is an offence under section 125 of the Communications Act 2003, which states that,

"a person who (a) dishonestly obtains an electronic communication service, and (b) does so with intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable to the provision of that service, is guilty of an offence. The maximum penalty is six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £5,000." 
  1. Make sure that you use the highest security settings you can use and never, ever tell anyone your username and password.  You can also find out a little bit more on this at PC Mech
  2. Do not use anyone else's unsecured WIFI because it is an offence to do so.

Happy surfing.

A General or a Specific election??


What about 'none of the above'?
I am putting my money on 6th May 2010 for the wonderful General Election.

I know there are lots rumours doing the rounds.  Indeed today Gordon is supposed to be announcing that the General Election will be taking place on 25th March.  All I would say is, if you are as sad as I am, have a wee gander over to General Election Timetables.

There you will see an illustrative timetable of potential election dates and when the 'Proclamation of Dissolution' has to happen.  The 'Proclamation of Dissolution' is basically when the Prime Minster goes to the Queen and asks her to dissolve her Parliament, and she  agrees.

You will see from the timetable that today (Monday 1 March 2010) is the day for the 'Proclamation of Dissolution' for the 25th Match to be the election day, when you and I get to once again drudge down to the local polling stations to vote for people we are not quite sure off.

The rumours for 25th March are now fading big time.  And as you can see below, we will have a few more rumour filled weekends to go through.  Right up to the timings for a June 3 election.

So why do I still stick to 6th May?

  1. Its been the longest persisting rumour.
  2. A number of Labour Grandees have let it slip now and again.
  3. It is the date of the Local Elections in England
  4. Its a nice time of the year to have it.
  5. Its not the holiday season, so more people will be at home.
  6. And, from the Northern Ireland perspective, the date for the 'Proclamation of Dissolution' is 12 April.
Hold on, I have heard that date before, I hear you say (for the pedants, I do not mean this literally! Unless people who read this actually do track me down and do actually speak to me.)

Yes, you have heard this before.  In the Hillsborough Agreement. On page 4.  First Section.

It is the date that Policing and Justice powers will be devolved from Westminster to Northern Ireland.

So what? Its not going to win anyone an election to Westminster.  Well, no it isn't.  But the powers can not be devolved by a dissolved Westminster.  It still has to be in session for the legislation for devolving the powers to be enacted.

A dissolved Westminster does not have any MPs, nor does it debate, nor does it pass legislation.

Ergo, (using latin makes me feel so superior) the Prime Minister will not be announcing dissolution before the 12th April 2010, as he agreed to the timings for devolution at the Hillsborough negotiations.

Now all I need is for Gordon Brown to read this and then call  a snap election, just to spite me.


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