WiFi Laws Could Get Mobile Broadband Users In Legal Trouble

Ambiguous laws governing the sharing of Wi-Fi access are considerably hampering the uptake of broadband services, broadening the digital divide, and even putting the innocent web-users at the risk of prosecution, a UK researcher warned.

Daithi Mac Sithigh, an IT and internet law lecturer at the University of East Anglia, has published a study, named “Last Mile: Sharing Internet Access Through Wi-Fi”, of regulations encompassing the wireless networks, and has reasoned out that the related laws pointlessly hinders the benefits that Wi-Fi networks could fetch for the society.

Touting the benefits of shared internet access, Mac Sithigh said: “Digital inclusion is a government policy and rightly so. People may not have broadband in every road, particularly in rural or isolated areas, and costs of a good connection remain high, so sharing internet access is recognised as a great way of filling in the gaps”.

He further went on to say that in spite of great social benefits of shared internet access, it would be difficult to encourage people to go for it amidst unclear legislation.

With the advent of several high-profile smartphones, like the iPhone, which picks up on open networks and use them, consumers are using wireless networks more intensively than ever, he claimed.

Citing the undesired impact of complicated and unclear internet sharing laws on digital economy, Mac Sithigh called for clearer and more flexible regulations to encourage people to use wireless networks freely.

Our Comments

Even if this is an obscure debate, getting WiFi laws across the country clear and unambiguous will mean that there will be less risks for those who might inadvertently use open networks.

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