[Politech] Two replies to open 802.11 connections and "wardriving"

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Fri Sep 10 2004 - 03:26:52 PDT

[Also be sure to read Orin Kerr's message I just sent along too. --Declan]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Legal WiFi article Response by Drew from WiFiMaps.com
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004 16:57:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Drew from Zhrodague <drew@private>
To: declan@private

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Article on wardriving
> Date: Mon, 06 Sep 2004 19:33:39 -0600
> From: Patrick S. Ryan <patrick.ryan@private>
> Organization: PSRLaw Firm, LLC
> To: declan@private
> Declan,
> I just published a law-review article that considers
> wardriving and, more broadly, disclosure policies.  I
> conclude that wardriving is legal and that there is an
> intriguing movement afoot among "hackers" to form an ethical
> code.  I am doing a bit of promotion of my article -- it is
> freely available either on SSRN or online at the Virgina
> Journal of Law & Technology's site. Here are the details if
> you would like to pass it along to Politech readers.
> Patrick S. Ryan, "War, Peace, or Stalemate: Wargames,
> Wardialing, Wardriving, and the Emerging Market for Hacker
> Ethics," Virginia Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 9, No.
> 7, Summer 2004, available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=585867.
> Best,
> Patrick
> ----- End forwarded message -----

         Whew, it's nice to hear people saying nice things about

         For those of us that do wardrive, we're not interested in how many
systems we can hack, or trading warez, or any of that -- we just want to
see where and how many. Let me explain:

         For me, a while ago, during the initial explosion of the Internet,
I worked at an ISP dealing with dialup and tiny frame-relay connections. I
thought that there would be a better way to deliver high-speed internet,
and came accross some Breezecom equipment online. The thought of 3Mbps
blew my mind, and when I went to my boss (Ed DeHart), he mentioned
something about TNCs, and packet radio. No interest.

         That made me mad. Sometimes I still get a look as if I had 5 heads
when I talk about wireless Internet. Now I see that Wi-Fi is almost
everywhere, an one of the projects I work on is geared towards proving
that -- http://www.WiFiMaps.com, a web-based map of data collected by
wardrivers. Now you can see your neighborhood, the city you are visiting,
or other places, and what they look like to wardrivers.

         Again, it's nice to see prominent people stating that wardriving
is not (hacking|illegal|kiddie-porn). Thank you.


Drew from Zhrodague		http://www.WiFiMaps.com
drew@private		Location Based WiFi

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [nycwireless]  [Politech] New law review article on 
whether	wardriving is legal [priv]
Date: Wed, 08 Sep 2004 18:25:54 +0100
From: vortex <vortex@private>
Reply-To: vortex@private
Organization: free2air
To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
CC: politech@private, "Patrick S. Ryan" 
<patrick.ryan@private>,        nycwireless@private
References: <20040907115659.A21677@private>

warpedallaz is the world's longest running group dedicated to wireless
network cartography, and has significantly contributed to the mapping
and promotion of discovery and study of all the varied consequences of
computer RF wireless emanations.

We have tracked, for example, the case of Stephan Puffer of Austin, TX,
likely the first person to be indicted for the act of receiving DHCP
information over an open wifi network (effectively an explicitly open
invitation to join a network).  In the end, his case was thrown out of
court. And the significance of this cannot be understated. It sets a
precedent for any and every network operator and provider.

free2air and warpedallaz only recommend passive data collection over the
airwaves (ie listening only to wifi beacon broadcast packets). This is
information that is effectively public domain. At least in a localised

At the same time, whilst proclaiming this, we have been accused of (by
british press of) "stealing 100's of millions of pounds of corporate
data". We wish!!

We believe it comes down to what constitutes human intention behind the
technology. If an open wifi network exists, how can you divine a human
intention behind that? Is it through ignorance, or more purposeful or
political intent?

As many others do, we hope for the latter. But technology and the law
are having a hard time catching up with us.

shine brightly,


for information about warpedallaz, email info (at) free2air.net.

to subscribe to the warpedallaz list,

legal-issues (at) networkcommons.org is a list dedicated to the global
legal issues of running an open public network, including an open,
public, wireless network, to subscribe, visit
Politech mailing list
Archived at http://www.politechbot.com/
Moderated by Declan McCullagh (http://www.mccullagh.org/)

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