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Wireless Networking United States Hardware

Open Park Project Gives Free Wi-Fi to Capitol Hill 134

Posted by timothy
from the freedom-among-the-sausagemakers dept.
mindless4210 writes "The Open Park Project has made free Wi-Fi internet access available to anyone around the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and Capitol Visitor's Center. "It's a hotspot for democracy," said Greg Staple, Open Park's co-founder. The non-profit organization has also received a significant donation of Wi-Fi equipment from Tropos Networks, which it plans to use to establish a mesh of free hotspots across the National Mall."
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Open Park Project Gives Free Wi-Fi to Capitol Hill

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  • #1 Capitol Hill -- How's that for Free Speech!
  • by Metallic Matty (579124) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:41PM (#9002056)
    What kind of bandwidth can you get on the WiFi, measured by Libraries of Congress?

    First correct reply gets a cookie.
  • by stonebeat.org (562495) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:41PM (#9002062) Homepage
    now I can receive SPAM while I am around Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and Capitol Visitor's Center.
    On the positive side, I can go in the supreme court sue the spammer.
  • ...it's being monitored by the gummint? ;)
    • I betcha plenty of Senators don't use SSL on their e-mail clients.
    • I'd say it isn't

      The Open Park Project (Open Park) is a new Washington D.C. non-profit organization founded to bring wireless Internet access to the public and the museum community on the National Mall.
      Internet backhaul services for Open Park are provided by DCAccess, Capitol Hill's first Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP).
      This is some random group of geeks who are providing a great service to everyone in Washington
  • Starbucks is going to lose some business.
    • Re:Looks like.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jason1729 (561790)
      Sounds good to me. Last time I checked, starbucks WiFi access on a monthly basis was more expensive than my broadband, and for shorter lengths of time it's even worse. $10 for 1 day of access. The 10 cents/minute plan sounds good until you read the fine print and see it's a 1 hour minimum charge; so it's $6 just to check your email.

      Jason
      ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
  • by nizo (81281) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:44PM (#9002089) Homepage Journal
    Hordes of geeky types hanging around the Mall with their laptops trying to hack into Senator's and each other's PCs.
  • Yea! (Score:4, Funny)

    by scifience (674659) * <webmaster@scifience.net> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:46PM (#9002105) Homepage
    Now I can anonymously hack into the government while sitting right in front of a government building!
    • Re:Yea! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nizo (81281)
      Or surf pr0n sites, hey this way congresscritters can surf safely outside the firewall during lunch hour!
    • by Cy Guy (56083) *
      You've actually been able to do that for almost nine months now in the courtyard of the FCC's office [wi-fiplanet.com] on 12th St. SW, just south of the National Mall. Though, per their press release they seem to frown on the hacking part.

  • Now all we need is extended battery life, or add some more outdoor outlets so not to drain on my battery :-0
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:46PM (#9002112)
    "free Wi-Fi internet access available to anyone around the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and Capitol Visitor's Center."

    That's all we need: A flock of music pirates, child porographers, warez people, movie pirates, huge doom or quake mulitplayers all in one area...

    Hmmm actually, it sounds like a party, lets go!
    • That's all we need: A flock of music pirates, child porographers, warez people, movie pirates, huge doom or quake mulitplayers all in one area..

      Just one thing - I don't think congressmen play quake/doom.
    • well for the majority of that group, at least al the country's criminals will all be in one spot (including the politicians)
  • by crstophr (529410) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:48PM (#9002133) Homepage
    Time to get the nice 10db 802.11 antenna up on the jeep, park nearby and soak up the packets!

    1.) Park Car/hangout with laptop, with linux->kismet->dsniff
    2.) Soak up logins/passwords, web surfing (pr0n), instant messaging habits of congressmen, aids, lobbyists etc
    3.) PROFIT!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Soak up logins/passwords, web surfing (pr0n), instant messaging habits of congressmen, aids, lobbyists etc

      Login: W
      Password: god

      W: wut up al...r u still d bitch?
      4LG0r3: lol. ur gonna get pwned muh fuxa..i invented dis intanizzle n00b.
      W: spaek inglsih dumma$$
    • Try loitering in this neighborhood in a parked car, with some funny/suspicious looking dohicky on the roof, while staring intently at an unseen gizmo in your lap, and you'll get a visit from some armed friends in less time than it takes you to yell "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

      And you should see what they do to the poor saps that accidentally come into the neighborhood in a rented moving van. Hoo boy!
      • You live on the Hill too? I wonder if this extends out to 4th street, where I am. If I was not moving in 2 weeks, this would be enough incentive to finally get a wireless card.
        • by mapmaker (140036)
          Yeah, I'm just outside the "compound" on New Jersey SE.

          I checked out the hotspot description and map on thier website. It's located on the eastern edge of the Capitol grounds opposite the Supreme Court, and they say coverage just barely reaches the Jefferson Building of the LOC next door. So it's pretty much useless unless you're sitting on the steps of the Supreme Court or on the 7 square feet of the Capitol grounds that aren't a huge construction pit.

          I guess they picked this location as their first ho
          • Ahh, thats BS, I am 2 blocks behind the SC, so that is out of range i guess.

            Too bad GU law school encrypts their wi-fi or you could snag theirs. I unfortunatly will be there later tonite taking a final
    • I should think I'd not want to try something like that in the heart of Washington. Some nice men in well pressed suits might come and ask you a few questions.

      Then again, maybe you could do it and never even get noticed since they'd just assume you're one of them. :-P
  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NEOtaku17 (679902) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:49PM (#9002144) Homepage
    Sounds like a prime location for some internal investigating...Maybe the FBI has a wireless varient of the "Carnivore" blackbox.
  • how much money does it cost to use?
    • how much money does it cost to use?

      What part of free don't you understand? Other than all that free as in budwieser and Free as in America fries or whatever they keep blathering on about the different types of free here at Slashdot. Now I'm confused too.
  • Pervasiveness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bih (674728) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:50PM (#9002159)
    One of the arguments for government censorship of broadcast television and radio is 'pervasiveness'. That is, since radio and television broadcast signals can come into the home 'uninvited' and received into the eyes and ears of children, the government must provide a filter. As free Wi-Fi access points like this become more ubiquitous, giving internet access a similar pervasiveness, it will be interesting to see if internet censorship gains more support.
    • As free Wi-Fi access points like this become more ubiquitous, giving internet access a similar pervasiveness...

      Please, for a hot spot to be of any use to you, you have to have a laptop, PDA, or similar contraption. If you can afford one, there's no real barrier to getting internet access yourself, so this is no vanguard of social change. It's a tool that will only be used by the technological elite.
      • Yes, but he is saying the government could still use it as an excuse to impose the same regulations that the FCC has on radio and broadcast tv.

        Like it or not the government wants control and will find lame reasons to do it.

    • So you're saying there's a bunch of wireless digital pr0n flying through my body right now? I don't feel anything. Must not be very good.
    • by pavon (30274)
      It is also the weaker of the arguments. While some radio waves come into you house uninvited, they are not recieved by your eyes unless you deliberately invite the signal to be displayed on your television. Really what this argument is saying is that it is okay to sell whatever you want but should be restricted from giving certain things away, which is rubbish.

      The stronger argument is that the broadcast frequencies are limited resource owned collectively by the people and thus regulated according to the wi
    • The argument for government regulation isn't really just that it's persvasive. It's first that the radio and television is public, and leased to broadcasters, so the public can put some restrictions on what the broadcasters say and do (including, for example, requiring public service announcements to be aired). Secondly, and I think more of what you're getting at, is that radio and television are sort of "push" technologies. You make the choice to turn on the TV, but you don't necessarily know what the chan
  • Security courses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:53PM (#9002194) Homepage
    With all the free WiFi access on the hill, I hope someone makes sure that all members of government, their staff and government employees are given a good course on security? (Hopefully given by nuns with rulers.)

    They've been pretty dangerous with LANs, I don't want to think about open/poorly encrypted WiFi.

  • The AUP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Artega VH (739847) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:56PM (#9002219) Journal
    Just some interesting points from their AUP:

    "Open Park supports the free flow of information and ideas over the Internet." but conversely
    "THE USE OF THE SERVICE FOR THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES IS PROHIBITED:"

    * "Obscene or Indecent Speech or Materials"

    * "Defamatory or Abusive Language" (we aren't allowed to swear?)

    * "Forging of Headers" does this mean I can't change my User Agent ID to pretend to be M$IE?

    * "Hacking" - I can't program?!? oh wait they mean cracking: "Accessing illegally or without authorization computers, accounts, equipment or networks belonging to another party, or attempting to penetrate security measures of another system." but for some reason it doesn't allow alot of network diagnostic tools to be used: "This includes any activity...including, but not limited to, port scans, stealthscans, or other information gathering activity."

    ---
    It seems to be the following would be more appropriate: You are not to use our network to do anything illegal or take "actions that may lead to liability for Open Park".

    Why can't they just say that instead of all this legalese mumbo jumbo?
    • I'm not a lawyer, how am I to know what causes liability for an ISP? Hell, with the thousands of laws on the books, I'm not absolutely sure anything I do is perfectly legal.
    • Defamatory or Abusive doesn't mean Obscene, that's been covered already. It means you're talking shit about someone. Well, abusive does. Defamatory would be talking shit and lying. For example, abusive would be saying dubya looks like a money when he talks, because he does. Defamatory would be saying he's a cokehead. Er, wait...
      • Defamatory or Abusive doesn't mean Obscene, that's been covered already. It means you're talking shit about someone.

        No no, get it right... it's like this...

        • Defamatory - talking shit about someone.
        • Abusive - talking shit at someone

  • by BrownDwarf (615206) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:56PM (#9002222)
    Lots of folks besides the USG will have their ears perked right up. Israel, China, and the Soviets come to mind.
  • Oh Yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ONOIML8 (23262) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @06:58PM (#9002239) Homepage
    Like the terrorists and our other enemies won't be sifting through that network data looking for gold.

    Sorry, maybe I read too much bad sci-fi. It just seems to me that this free stuff, while it might be a wonderful thing, could be used against someone pretty easily.
    • I know where talking about polticians here, so this most likly would not apply to them, but you can encrypt everything you send wirelessly. A good simple PGP key would do the trick.

      Sadly our polticians are so inept they wouldn't even think to do this, and if they did, it would be the most inefficient and easiest to hack encryption on the planet! ;-)
  • Keep Working on It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fortress (763470) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:05PM (#9002299) Homepage
    This is good, but I can't wait until WiFi coverage is as ubiquitous as, say, cell phone coverage. I wouldn't mind paying a per-packet fee for near universal wireless access. Who will fund this project? My guess would be wireless providers, they already have their foot in the door.

    That said, some issues must be solved first. WiFi security is still too lax, and uneducated users only make it worse. We need a truly idiot-proof security protocol - the problem is that idiots are so ingenious ;-P
    • What sort of per-packet fee were you thinking of? $0.01 per packet? Seems rather expensive to me.
    • That said, some issues must be solved first. WiFi security is still too lax, and uneducated users only make it worse. We need a truly idiot-proof security protocol...

      I would think that it would be difficult to provide a nation-wide wireless service using 802.11b (or g), given that this is unlicensed spectrum. If a particular area had all available channels used up already by local networks, the telcom companies can't just come in and take over the spectrum, as they have no more rights to it than anyone el
    • you would pay per PACKET? how many packets did it take to load just the frontpage of /.?! a fraction of a cent per packet just isnt' worth the work it would take to track it all... have it be an addition to your cellphone plan or at an equivalent price if they could get equivalent coverage.
  • Head downtown! Stick your hand in the jar! Tasty! Jailed! Arrowed!
  • I am surprised that the congressmen didn't demand this and vote it in. After voting for their payraise, voting for their health care service, and voting for their "I served in congress and all I got was this lousy BMW" t-shirts, You would think they would demand hotspots anywhere they would happen to wander.

    Senators got needs too!

  • I guess all it takes for DC to become more technologically bonifide is me moving out of state.

    WiFi hotspots downtown were virtually non-existent for a long time. I don't really think these are going to get used by anyone for business, though. Probably more geared for tourists, like everything in DC.

    • WiFi hotspots downtown were virtually non-existent for a long time.

      Virtually nonexistent?

      I've been surfing at McPherson Square for at least a year and a half. I can think of a dozen corners that have had wifi for a year or more.

  • I noticed after I clicked on the link "free Wi-Fi internet access available" my Norton AV said it quarantined the Trojan Virus Trojan.Mitglieder.I located in my IE Temp folder.

    So clicked back twice to get my default webpage, I cleared my cached internet files, clicked on my Slashdot fav link, and then on the link in the story again. Immediately again, Norton pops up and says it quarantined that Trojan.

    Is anyone else having this happen from this Dailywireless.com webpage?

  • Skip this whole wireless internet thing. I want to donate money to a literacy fund to help the Supreme Court Justices read the Constitution they are supposed to be protecting. Maybe if that's successful we can raise money for Congress and the President too!

    Leave no politician behind!

    SetupWeasel
    www.setupweasel.com
  • Hey, maybe we could go over there and hook up to the wifi connection and share some songs via P2P. That way the RIAA will try to sue the government, and the government will realize just how stupid the RIAA is acting.
  • I'd like to know how I'm supposed to access free WiFi if I don't have a laptop. Some of us poor college students can only afford an old K6-2 500 MHz machine that only has an ethernet card because someone gave it to me (it's not actually that bad, but close). I think that they should worry about getting people the technology first, and then worry about utilizing it to the fullest. I really think that projects like this as weel as the government should be more worried about suppling something like free dia
  • that the politicians will only be using this as a way to get online, not actually use it for networking for private documents.
  • by Penguinshit (591885) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @07:56PM (#9002756) Homepage Journal

    ...the testing grounds for "Carnivore II".
  • by Archfeld (6757) * <treboreel@live.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @08:41PM (#9003084) Journal
    now our congress-aliens can sit in the park, with 10 security agents of course and work remotely, that is if they can in fact operate a computer. What is gonna be even more fun is when the RIAA sue's someone using one of those IP's for music pirating :) That might be the ONLY to get congress out of the RIAA's back-pocket, have them bite the hand that is force feeding them like barn raised veal...
  • A bunch of geeks with laptops in a park? Never mind the hacking - this sounds like a hotspot to get yourself mugged.
  • They are using equipment from Tropos networks. While they could have gotten it for free, I'm wondering about the rest of us who may be considering a mesh network for large outdoor spaces. So... are there any _good_ (and inexpensive) OSS solutions for putting together WiFi mesh networks? Are the APs which can be hacked (in the true sense of the word) to run such OSS packages?

    I'd like to have a setup where you have an AP with 2 antennas: an 11b for providing access to clients, and an 11a for talking to othe

  • Do they sell Doritoes on the Mall?
  • Websense: "www.openpark.org" is blocked due to adult content

    Thanks, Websense, for saving me from finding out about free wi-fi access! Whew, that was CLOSE...

    --RJ
  • by s.a.m (92412)
    I can see it now, people sitting there typing away on their laptops and some Kite comes crashing down on them.

    Yup, won't see that one coming. LOL

    Plus w/ the Washington Monument closed off for a while, kinda limits you to just the Mall. Great there goes my commute. LOL

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