WiFi users need to watch out in Maryland

I was astonished to hear that a bill has been introduced to the Maryland state legislature in the US, calling for the unauthorised use of a wireless access point to be made a criminal offence.

The bill, which has been sponsored by Delegate LeRoy E. Myers, Jr., looks like it is doomed to failure, according to latest news reports, but it is all a bit worrying.

The bill seeks to prohibit anyone from accessing to a WiFi signal "intentionally, wilfully, and without authorisation" and seems to apply to anyone and everyone.

That, of course, includes little ol' me sitting in the Cafe Desire on the third floor of Debenhams Oxford Street London, where you get a choice of two hotels' free WiFi signals and a pay-for Cloud signal from down the street.

Yes, I have a Cloud subscription, but I tend to grab free WiFi signals when they are available for general surfing, research and email.

I also have a 3G broadband modem, but the latency can be pain, so free WiFi is always the preferred option, especially with the Boingo client software loaded on to my laptop.

Back in Maryland, meanwhile, it seems that Myers' bill was prompted after he caught his neighbour piggy-backing his WiFi signals without permission.

Hardly surprising, however, as Myers is reported to have left his WiFi connection open to anyone using it.

And given that most US broadband packages are all-you-can-eat, was anyone really harmed?

You can read more on this bill, which actually makes for interesting reading, here...