17 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2005
Suppose you turn on your laptop while sitting at the kitchen table at home and respond OK to a prompt about accessing a nearby wireless Internet access point owned and operated by a neighbor. What potential liability may ensue from accessing someone else's wireless access point? How about intercepting wireless connection signals? What about setting up an open or unsecured wireless access point in your house or business? Attorneys can expect to grapple with these issues and other related questions as the popularity of wireless technology continues to increase.
This paper explores several theories of liability involving both the accessing and operating of wireless Internet, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, wiretap laws, as well as trespass to chattels and other areas of common law. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of key policy considerations.
Keywords: Wi-Fi, WLAN, WAP, wireless, IEEE, 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, CFAA, HotSpot, VOIP, Sablan, Verio, AOL, Security, encryption, internet, ISP, wardriving, warchaulking
JEL Classification: K1, K10, K12, K13, K14, K19, K2, K20, K23, K2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
HALE, ROBERT V., Wi-Fi Liability: Potential Legal Risks in Accessing and Operating Wireless Internet. Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal, Vol. 21, p. 543, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=692881