Free Wireless

Free hotspots in your area?

In the last year, I heard how Dublin City Council had given up on plans to run a free, city-wide wireless Internet programme on the grounds that it was against EU regulations, anti-competitive and bad for the consumer. As Ireland currently has some of the slowest and most expensive broadband options available in Europe, it seems obvious how the consumer will benefit from having to continue paying for their poor services. But there could be a nicer alternative to centralised WiFi. In a post much earlier this year, Bruce Schneier generated a lot of debate when he claimed he leaves his wireless network open and unprotected for just about anyone to use. This he considers a common courtesy, and whilst acknowledging the risks, considers them to be largely inflated. As many of the people commenting on his article or reporting about it elsewhere point out, there are risks involved, and as far as many of the people in authority are concerned, his common courtesy leaves him much more culpable. Many ISPs stipulate that sharing a connection in this manner would be a breach of contract, and from a legal perspective infringements undertaken by someone piggybacking the network could result in a rather unwelcome investigation for the owner.

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