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Anonymous Wi-Fi Brings Piracy

Posted: 17th Jul, 2003 By: MarkJ
We must admit that, until today, this hadn't even crossed our minds. The design of broadband wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) means that individuals can surf more or less anonymously, which can cause problems:

Early last spring, NYCWireless co-founder Anthony Townsend got a note in the mail saying that someone on his network had been violating copyright laws. This type of note is becoming increasingly common as record companies and Hollywood studios subpoena Internet service providers (ISPs) for information about subscribers in order to stop people from trading songs and movies online.

But Townsend's case was unusual: as the representative of a loose collection of wireless "hot spot" Internet access points, there was no way he or the relevant access-point operator in New York's Bryant Park could identify or warn the file trader.

"We brought the notice to the attention of the park management, but they weren't concerned," Townsend said. "That whole mechanism (for finding copyright violators) becomes really problematic when the ISP is someone sharing a wireless access point."


Unfortunately one of Wi-Fi's key selling points is its 'open-access' design, yet clearly more may have to be done in order to better identify those that use it. More @ ZDNet.
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