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Wardriver Charged with Theft of Communications 678

BiggsTheCat writes "A number of news sources are reporting that a Toronto man is the first to be charged with "theft of communications" (Canadian Criminal Code S. 342.1) for downloading child pornography using someone else's residential wireless network. The "War Driver" was caught naked from the waist down driving the wrong way down a one-way street, with a laptop in hand. The Edmonton Sun warns that 'War Driving ... is becoming more and more common among perverts trying to avoid online detection'. Yeah."
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Wardriver Charged with Theft of Communications

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  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:36PM (#7538146) Journal

    Wow! I wonder if they told the owner (s?) of the Internet connection he was using? Can you imagine that phone call?

    I guess it doesn't say much for the intelligence of the idiot involved. Why drive around? Why not find a good signal and park? I've sat in my car using my laptop before -- never got questioned. Of course I wasn't driving (and I was fully clothed). It's hard to consider this a victory against war drivers or child abusers when the champ was only caught because he was being an idiot....

    I also doubt this will bring any major attention to the underlying problem (unsecured home APs). It'll probably take something like Grandma Jones being charged with transmission of child pornography to bring this problem to the general publics attention. I feel bad for the innocent person who is going to wind up being charged (sooner or later -- if it hasn't happened already) by cops that don't know what is going on -- to be defended by a lawyer who probably doesn't know what's going on -- to be tried by a jury who doesn't know what's going on. Scary situation to be in.

    Or is the more scary thought being nabbed by RIAA (whose burden of proof is a lot less then the cops) for some punk teenager next door using your connection to download/share mp3s? Wonder how long (or if it already has) until this happens?

    Either way, your into thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars worth of legal fees. The former case is definitely the worst (who wants to be labeled as "that guy" with all the child porn), but either scenario seems likely to destroy/severely set-back your life.

    • by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:44PM (#7538200) Homepage
      Aside from the charges made against him for the perverted video he was watching (and not to belittle the charges) it would seem that there is a major point that he has been charged with "Theft of Communications".

      This would suggest that all "Wardrivers" are at risk of being prosecuted for "Theft of Communications" regardless of what data they recieve over someone elses network.
      • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:53PM (#7538270) Journal

        This would suggest that all "Wardrivers" are at risk of being prosecuted for "Theft of Communications" regardless of what data they recieve over someone elses network.

        And that's a bad thing? Sorry, but if you break into my wireless network (even if you are just "mapping" how many open networks there are), you've just committed a crime. This is hardly new legislation. For reference I've included the Canadian code that the story linked to.

        I would say all the more so since even a "secure" 802.11b network (with the cheap grade APs that most home users have access to) can be broken into. People who do this and get caught (and I'm sure that's the minority. This idiot was only caught because he was driving down the street the way wrong with no pants on) should be prosecuted. It's that simple.

        Interestingly enough, if you read the law below, it seems they can lock this guy away for up to 10 years. With Canadian law (of which I'm hardly an expert) does that mean they can add ten years to the sentence he'll get for the child porn, or does he have to serve the sentence at the same time? Be nice if they could add ten years to his prison term...

        FYI:

        S.342.1 Unauthorized Use of Computer

        342.1 (1) Every one who, fraudulently and without colour of right,

        (a) obtains, directly or indirectly, any computer service,

        (b) by means of an electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, intercepts or causes to be intercepted, directly or indirectly, any function of a computer system,

        (c) uses or causes to be used, directly or indirectly, a computer system with intent to commit an offence under paragraph (a) or (b) or an offence under section 430 in relation to data or a computer system, or

        (d) uses, possesses, traffics in or permits another person to have access to a computer password that would enable a person to commit an offence under paragraph (a), (b) or (c)

        is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

        Definitions
        (2) In this section,

        "computer password"
        "computer password" means any data by which a computer service or computer system is capable of being obtained or used;

        "computer program"
        "computer program" means data representing instructions or statements that, when executed in a computer system, causes the computer system to perform a function;

        "computer service"
        "computer service" includes data processing and the storage or retrieval of data;

        "computer system"
        "computer system" means a device that, or a group of interconnected or related devices one or more of which,

        (a) contains computer programs or other data, and

        (b) pursuant to computer programs,

        (i) performs logic and control, and

        (ii) may perform any other function;

        "data"
        "data" means representations of information or of concepts that are being prepared or have been prepared in a form suitable for use in a computer system;

        "electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device"
        "electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device" means any device or apparatus that is used or is capable of being used to intercept any function of a computer system, but does not include a hearing aid used to correct subnormal hearing of the user to not better than normal hearing;

        "function"
        "function" includes logic, control, arithmetic, deletion, storage and retrieval and communication or telecommunication to, from or within a computer system;

        "intercept"
        "intercept" includes listen to or record a function of a computer system, or acquire the substance, meaning or purport thereof.

        "traffic"
        "traffic" means, in respect of a computer password, to sell, export from or import into Canada, distribute or deal with in any other way.

        R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 45; 1997, c. 18, s. 18.

        • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @06:01PM (#7538309) Journal

          And that's a bad thing?

          Absolutely. I read that law, and it's something that I've broken before myself. I was at work. Our internet connection went down. I happened to pick up an 802.11 signal from the place next door, so I used it.

          I didn't harm anyone. I certainly don't deserve to go to jail for 10 years for doing it.

          • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Saturday November 22, 2003 @06:09PM (#7538347) Journal
            Absolutely. I read that law, and it's something that I've broken before myself. I was at work. Our internet connection went down. I happened to pick up an 802.11 signal from the place next door, so I used it.

            I didn't harm anyone. I certainly don't deserve to go to jail for 10 years for doing it.

            If it was unintentional then you didn't break any laws. Most laws (at least in the US) require some sort of intent for you to violate them. If your Windows XP box helpfully picks up a WLAN and you start surfing on it (not knowing it isn't yours) then you've hardly committed a crime.

            I would have to say though, that based on what you said... "My Internet connection went down so I used this one" that you did break the law. Saying "I didn't harm anyone" is a piss poor excuse. How do you know that the connection in question isn't billed on a per-use basis? Unlikely I'll admit, but possible. In any case you had no right to use it without permission and if I was the admin of said network I would have reported the security violation to the proper authorities -- of course if I was the admin you wouldn't have gotten in it in the first place.

            If your phone line stops working is it ok to start using your neighbors just because your cordless phones happen to be the same model and your receiver will work with his base station? If you even tried doing that you'd be in some serious hot water. I don't see why it should be any different for Internet connections.

            • If your phone line stops working is it ok to start using your neighbors just because your cordless phones happen to be the same model and your receiver will work with his base station? If you even tried doing that you'd be in some serious hot water. I don't see why it should be any different for Internet connections.

              That's not a very fair anology. By using my neighbors phone I'd be preventing them from use of that phone. Not true with wireless, outside of very extreme circumstances.

              • That's not a very fair anology. By using my neighbors phone I'd be preventing them from use of that phone. Not true with wireless, outside of very extreme circumstances.

                No, but your slowing down his Internet connection. What if he is trying to download something? And what if he pays for his Internet connection on a per-byte basis? Highly unlikely, but not impossible.

                In the grandparents example (dead Internet connection.. neighbors is alive and wide open) all he had to do was walk next door and say "Can

            • by zurab ( 188064 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @06:21PM (#7538423)
              How do you know that the connection in question isn't billed on a per-use basis? Unlikely I'll admit, but possible. In any case you had no right to use it without permission and if I was the admin of said network I would have reported the security violation to the proper authorities -- of course if I was the admin you wouldn't have gotten in it in the first place.


              If it was billed on per-use and per byte transmitted, then it should not have been public. That's what all these insecure (read: open) networks are - they are public. i.e., if you put your 50" plasma TV in your driveway facing outside and turn it on, when neighbors start watching it from across the street, they are not stealing anything - since you've made your signal available to public in such manner.

              There are a lot of open wireless networks like that that are meant to be used by public; some have posted signs saying so, some don't. there is no way for anyone to tell what the intention of the owner of the network is - share it publicly, or keep it private - unless that network owner requires authentication or otherwise locks his network down. Only then you will have an argument that the network was "broken into" and connection "stolen".
              • If it was billed on per-use and per byte transmitted, then it should not have been public. That's what all these insecure (read: open) networks are - they are public. i.e., if you put your 50" plasma TV in your driveway facing outside and turn it on, when neighbors start watching it from across the street, they are not stealing anything - since you've made your signal available to public in such manner.

                Actually in that scenario the MPAA would show up at your door and start charging your neighbors royalties

                • If the power cord under the fence analogy is going to continue:

                  THIEVES TAKE NOTE:
                  A friend of mine works for the local power company. It's his job to shut off and restore power to non-bill payers. He has seen cases exactly like this where people with power shut off run an extension cord to the unknowing neighbor's outlet. They then plug it into their own wall (changed it to a male-male).

                  Result: Neighbor's power stolen, neighbor gets very high bills.

                  How is it found? Power guy reconnects electricity, bu
              • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @11:17PM (#7539912) Homepage
                If it was billed on per-use and per byte transmitted, then it should not have been public.

                Should. Could. It doesn't matter. It's still illegal to use somebody elses data link without their permission.

                If you leave your front door unlocked - by accident or otherwise - it doesn't grant permission to any passerby to steal your stuff. Yes, you were stupid for leaving your door unlocked. Yes, your insurance might be voided. NO, it doesn't mean you forfeit your property rights.

                Same for the wireless connection. They might be pretty dumb for not securing it. Their ISP probably won't refund their money. But the person who stole the bandwidth is NOT vindicated.

                if you put your 50" plasma TV in your driveway facing outside and turn it on, when neighbors start watching it from across the street, they are not stealing anything - since you've made your signal available to public in such manner.

                TCP/IP is a TWO WAY PROCESS. Not a one-way transmission. The 50" TV emits light; it doesn't receive it. The person using your wireless LAN without permission is sending and receiving data. They are also initiating packet transfers that might involve a cost to you. That's very different from passively watching a television. Your analogy falls very short.

                Now if your neighbour used their infra-red remote to control the 50" TV, and we lived in a universe where certain channels were charged by the minute, and your neighbour decided to change channels to the boxing match, thus racking up a $250 charge to your television bill... then we'd have a workable analogy. And I think you'd find the small-claims court would rule against the greedy neighbour.

            • ??? Lies? I don't know if you are suffering delusions, or are yourself ignorant, but American law has always dictated that "ignorance is no excuse". Anything that you do that is against the law could be (and often is) prosecuted whether you knew it was a crime or not.
              • but American law has always dictated that "ignorance is no excuse"

                I didn't say ignorance of the law was an excuse. I said that if you accidently associate to your neighbors AP all-the-while thinking that you are using your own, then you haven't broken any laws.

                If I climb in a car that is similar to mine because I can't remember where I parked and attempt to drive off in it (only to discover that my key won't work) am I guilty of attempted grand-theft auto? I don't think so.

                Read my actual post before yo

            • I would say that Internet connections are somewhat different from phone connections. If you're using your neighbor's line, you have exclusive access to it until you're done; however, Internet connections can be *easily* shared. Additionally, most people with Wi-Fi have broadband, and have significant amounts of bandwidth 24/7 that often go unused, and you are not billed online based on which addresses you visit, whereas phones what with 900 numbers and long distance are billed much differently. Phone num
            • The first time I used my neighbor's wireless network I didn't even know I had a wireless card. I had a new laptop from work, and at some point I noticed that I was surfing the web with the cable unplugged. I had to turn off the wireless card, as it was coming up as the first interface (I don't have a wireless access point of my own yet).
            • If it was unintentional then you didn't break any laws.

              It was intentional. I wanted internet access, I found an open AP, and I used it.

              "My Internet connection went down so I used this one" that you did break the law.

              Yeah. I did. At least, the Canadian one. I don't know what the exact wording of the law is in the US.

              Saying "I didn't harm anyone" is a piss poor excuse.

              It's not really an excuse. To call it an excuse implies that I did something wrong in the first place.

              How do you know that t

            • by AchmedHabib ( 696882 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @10:26PM (#7539661)
              link here [infoworld.com]
              "For all his success at bringing Microsoft's warring constituencies together, there are still things beyond Bill and Steve's control. "I was in a hotel in Sun Valley last week that was not wired," Ballmer recalls. "So I turned on my PC, and XP tells me there is a wireless network available. So I connect to something called Mountaineer.

              "Well, I don't know what that is. But I VPN into Microsoft. It worked! I don't know whose broadband I used," he chuckles. "I didn't see it in Bill's room. I called him up and said, 'Hey, come over to my room.' So soon everyone is there and connecting to the Internet through my room."


              So was that a crime?
            • I am not aware of any broadband service that is billed on a per use basis. This is how it generally works:

              For DSL and Cable Modem, you have a maximum upload and download speed that is choked by the access provider to maintain service quality over the whole network. QOS is generally nonexistant for these customers.

              For larger connections (DS1, DS3, ATM and so on) you have a maximum bandwidth per second - however the service provider can increase this as a part of a service level agreement to allow spikes
        • FYI, "colour of right" basically means law enforcement. Most people don't have "colour of right".

          IANAL.

        • by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @06:04PM (#7538326) Homepage
          If the network is encrypted, SSID broadcasting disabled, etc, I agree with you. However, if the wireless network is left wide open without WEP enabled, it's potentially arguable that there's implicit permission to use the network, especially given the growing popularity of wi-fi hotspots. Basically, I agree that if someone intentionally cracks into a network, they should be held accountable, but the owner of the network should also bear some of the responsibility - namely securing it if they don't want just anyone using it.
          • However, if the wireless network is left wide open without WEP enabled, it's potentially arguable that there's implicit permission to use the network

            Actually I don't think that argument washes in a legal sense. I recall the old cordless phone setups that didn't have the random security codes the new ones do. If you happened to have compatible models with your neighbor you could wind up using his base station (thus his phone line) to make tons of long distance calls. Saying there was an "implicit permiss

            • If I change my SSID to "this_is_a_private_network" but don't turn off SSID broadcast (either because I'm too stupid to do so or my AP won't let me) any modern OS will be able to auto-detect and associate to that network. Does this mean I gave permission for the entire world to use my AP? That's a hard argument to sell, imho.

              Should clicking on a link to privatenetwork.com [privatenetwork.com] be illegal, too? Be careful before you click: it could be someone who just wanted to share stuff over the web with their friends, and y
        • >Sorry, but if you break into my wireless network (even if you are just "mapping" how many open networks there are), you've just committed a crime.

          So port scanning is a crime now? How many of those APs were 'closed?' On average it hovers around 10%. You're still just another node on the internet, the transmission medium doesn't make a difference.
        • Windows XP automatically logs onto access points for you, so you could use the excuse that the AP hacked you, and you aren't even in Soviet Russia!

          They used this argument in a book on Wireless Security I got.
    • On the other hand having an unsecured wireless network could make a damn good defense against anything you happen get caught doing.

      "It wasn't me downloading mp3s, someone hijacked my connection, etc..."
  • Weird (Score:5, Funny)

    by SargeZT ( 609463 ) * <pshanahan@mn.rr.com> on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:37PM (#7538151) Homepage
    I thought Michael Jackson was driving through Las Vegas last night, not Canada.
  • Well Gee (Score:5, Funny)

    by krisp ( 59093 ) * on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:37PM (#7538154) Homepage
    You'd think he would be more careful. Driving the wrong way up a one way street, no pants, whacking off to kiddie porn? This guy was asking for it!
    • Driving the wrong way up a one way street, no pants, whacking off to kiddie porn?

      Sheesh. Didn't you even read the synopsis? It said he was caught "laptop in hand". :)

  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry ( 598897 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:38PM (#7538157)
    The "War Driver" was caught naked from the waist down driving the wrong way down a one-way street, with a laptop in hand. I'm trying to figure out how he was driving if he had the laptop in one hand and, well you know where I'm going with this...
    • by elmegil ( 12001 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:41PM (#7538174) Homepage Journal
      What I don't get is why he wasn't charged with indecent conduct, posession of child pornography, and left at that? The theft of communications doesn't seem like it's that significant in the overall scope of this moron's behavior.
      • The theft of communications doesn't seem like it's that significant in the overall scope of this moron's behavior

        Because he's a piece of human slime and they are going to charge him with every possible thing they can think of. He was probably also cited for driving the wrong way down the street. It's hardly news -- if you get a DWI chances are you are also going to get a stack of tickets for anything else they could find (including the reason they pulled you over in the first place)... failure to stay ri

      • Re:Wait a second.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Barbarian ( 9467 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:50PM (#7538250)
        He's getting numerous counts of kiddie porn charges. They seized 10 computers of his, and they say there are thousands of images and movies of kids, down to babies, so you bet they're going to throw the book at him as soon as they have analyzed the stuff. They already have one posession of kiddie porn charge, and with the theft of communications I assume they are using it to hold him without bail until they can add more on.
    • Haven't you ever steered with your knees while driving?
  • by karnal ( 22275 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:39PM (#7538163)
    "with a laptop in hand."

    That's not a laptop, officer.
  • by VertigoAce ( 257771 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:40PM (#7538167)
    Theft, child porn, indecent exposure, and a traffic violation all at the same time? Surely he could have killed someone and committed some sort of business crime to complete the spectrum of criminal activity.
  • Canada (Score:2, Funny)

    by tealover ( 187148 )
    "America Done Weirdly"

  • by kju ( 327 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:40PM (#7538171)
    ...at least not during the same time. Sorry, but i thought that to be common sense. This Person is not a Wardriver but an complete idiot. "Real" Wardrivers do not wardrive for the sake of downloading or getting a personal advantage, but just for the fun of finding and mapping unsecure networks.
    • No, that's called "boring". A wardriver is someone who participates in wardriving, which is travelling around looking for networks, which this man has done. He's an idiot becuase of the child porn. He was still wardriving.

      As long as the long arm of the law doesn't overreach and try to pass laws on private networks, whatever. This isn't that interesting except as another example of why people need to be more careful with their networks.

      If you were looking for something to make people worry, and possibly ac
    • "This Person is not a Wardriver but an complete idiot. "Real" Wardrivers do not wardrive for the sake of downloading or getting a personal advantage, but just for the fun of finding and mapping unsecure networks."

      For sure. And Toronto is a damn good place to wardrive. I've gone wardriving through TO suburbs (with someone else at the wheel of course) and there was rarely a time within a 60 minute period or so that I was *not* within range of a WiFi AP with no security.

  • ... what was in the other hand.
  • Just to clarify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mixy1plik ( 113553 ) * <.ten.nice. .ta. .tnuhm.> on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:41PM (#7538173)
    The guy was arrested for kiddie porn and this theft of communications crap was tacked on, because, they could.

    Contribute to the greater good, bust those wardrivers.
  • by Megor1 ( 621918 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:41PM (#7538177) Homepage
    Is the person who ran the unsecured AP in any way liable for what was done from his connection?

    This case could be used as further proof that if an illegal attack originated from your internet connection it doesn't provide reliable proof that you actually did it (Or that any authorized users at that connection for that matter).
  • Fuck, I'm on someone else's wireless network right now.
  • Bit of a difference between someone wardriving out of curiousity, or using a nearby open WAP because it was there, and someone *looking around for open WAPs specifically so that they can perform illegal acts without traceability, then jacking off to child pornography in a car using said WAP WHILE DRIVING*.

    Maybe there's a slippery slope thing going on here but somehow I'm not going to really care about *what* happens to this person or this case.
  • by H8X55 ( 650339 ) <jason.r.thomasNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:42PM (#7538185) Homepage Journal
    Had the ISP been subpenoed they would turn over the necessary logs, show their cutomer's IP address (on his router) as the offender. How many perverts will turn this around the other way? Buy wireless routers, leave the settings wide open, download their kiddy pron at heart's content, making sure to always get rid of temp files, history, and cookies. If they get busted, the simply say, "it wasn't me, someone hacked into my wireless router, and downloaded that stuff on their onw machine... Shows we need to hold net admins (even of SoHo's to some standards of use.

    Could we have our hardware manufacturers include non default SSID's, on a cdkey type set up process, so the default isn't "default" or "linksys" but "As3deyt#$seKJ34". Changing it upon sucessful install should still be allowed, but at least we've reduced those that just leave 'em as they got 'em outta the box.
    • Had the ISP been subpenoed they would turn over the necessary logs, show their cutomer's IP address (on his router) as the offender. How many perverts will turn this around the other way? Buy wireless routers, leave the settings wide open, download their kiddy pron at heart's content, making sure to always get rid of temp files, history, and cookies. If they get busted, the simply say, "it wasn't me, someone hacked into my wireless router, and downloaded that stuff on their onw machine... Shows we need to
      • >I doubt any of them are truly smart enough to get rid of all the evidence on the PCs after they were done

        I think I would use one of many Linux boot cds wth a browser.

        Use that and a computer with no hd and lots of RAM for a RAM drive. No record anywhere.

        I was actually thinking of doing that when I do banking/credit card stuff online to avoid keyloggers/viruses/trojens.
    • "Buy wireless routers, leave the settings wide open, download their kiddy pron at heart's content, making sure to always get rid of temp files, history, and cookies. If they get busted, the simply say, "it wasn't me, someone hacked into my wireless router, and downloaded that stuff on their onw machine..."

      I do understand what you're saying, but I am seeing things a bit differently:

      (note: I am playing devil's avocate for the purposes of having a good debate)

      If somebody goes and sets up a WiFi AP with n

  • Wireless security? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:42PM (#7538187) Homepage
    At the moment the wireless security that ships with routers is inherently insecure, but some places seem to thin it's necessary.

    I have already been castigated by the university for running a WiFi node that doesn't conform to their requirements (WEP is disabled) - even though it's ad hoc, there is no DHCP, each host on the wireless net only accepts ssh connections from hosts with known IPs and mac addresses and oubound routing (from connections terminated with ssh against into an authed socks proxy) is stictly controlled. Turning on WEP too would drop speeds to a useless level for little extra benefit.

    Maybe new standards will change this, but for now the media should really stop focusing on WEP as the be all and end all of security to the detriment of people competent enough to handle it themselves in a better fashion.
    • Wireless routers should come shipped with a big red tag attached to them expressing the importance of securing their wireless network. New hardware sold today should have at least WEP by default and SSID broadcast turned off. I know that this is not perfect, but hey it is better than a wide open wireless network.
      I just setup a wireless home/office network and made sure I secured it as well as I can.
      I got some advice from a techie before I set this network up, but he suggesterd that I should not worry about
  • So he can whack off, use a laptop for hacking AND drive a car at the same time?! He must be a very flexible man!
  • That's not new (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:44PM (#7538197)
    The Edmonton Sun warns that 'War Driving ... is becoming more and more common among perverts trying to avoid online detection'.

    Well, this guy did avoid online detection : he was caught with road detection, driving the wrong way half-naked. It's not like the owner of the unprotected wifi AP called the cops, he was just acting odd on the road.
  • driving naked from the waist down with a portable in one hand (I don't want to think what was in the other) should be an offence in and of itself ?

    Simon.
    • driving naked from the waist down with a portable in one hand (I don't want to think what was in the other) should be an offence in and of itself ?

      Think they tacked on a distracted driving charge for the hell of it? ;) It wouldn't surprise me.

  • by z_gringo ( 452163 ) <z_gringo@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:46PM (#7538216)
    Gillespie said the man used Kazaa, a popular file-sharing web program commonly used to share music, to download the graphic material.

    In a study using 12 words associated with child pornography, the U.S. General Accounting Office found that 42% of 1,286 files on the peer-to-peer site contained child porn.

    Those figures didn't surprise Gillespie.


    What are these idiots on? There are a lot more than 1286 files available via Kazaa, morpheus, etc.. It's not a "site" and there is no way that 42% of it is child porn.. That is absolutely nuts. Most of it is Movies and MP3's There is a fair bit of regular porn as well. If 42% were child porn, that would usurp every single other category.. That stat is just stupid. The sad part is that there are loads of people out there who will believe that nonsense without even bothering to run the numbers..

    • Read a bit more closely: this is about the hits on the 12 words.
      • Yeah, I read that but that just skews the stats even more.. It goes to show that you really have to look for that to find it. It generally doesn't just appear on your screen while you are trying to go about your normal business. If he typed 12 words specifically looking for kiddie porn, and verified that only 42% actually were, Wouldn't that be illegal as well? Also, why only 42%? His numbers still don't add up.

    • 42% of 1,286 files, not 42% of the 1,286 files. They probably searched for "child porn", found 1,286 results, 42% of which are really child porn.
    • The way I read it, they searched for child porn specifically, and 42% of the 1286 search results were valid.
    • by CrystalFalcon ( 233559 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @08:32PM (#7539161) Homepage
      I've been running a mapper on P2P networks for some while now, in order to know where to look for stuff when I want it. (And for the sake of the automated P2P client I'm writing.)

      The breakdown by common file type is roughly:
      • Movies (AVI, MPEG, MOV etc): 1%
      • Graphics (JPEG, GIF, PNG): 15%
      • Audio (mostly MP3): 30%
      • Binaries and Archives: 4%
      • CD Images (ISO, NRG): 1%
      • Text files: 2%
      • Other: the rest

      The basis for this is about one petabyte's worth of indexed files, so it's not some out-of-thin-air numbers.

      Just from this, saying that 42% is porn, much less CHILD porn, is way out. We already knew this, but I thought it interesting to back up the statement with some numbers.

      To give more real numbers on child porn, when I did check for it at one time, I found 12 suspicious-looking file names from a database of several million files. That's a LITTLE bit lower than 42%.
  • Wireless security (Score:3, Informative)

    by swtaarrs ( 640506 ) <swtaarrs AT comcast DOT net> on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:48PM (#7538234)
    I'm surprised how many people have unsecured wireless access points. I'm not talking about WEP, just basic access restricton based on MAC address. I have a Linksys wireless router, and I have it set to only allow certain wireless MAC addresses to connect. If a friend with a wireless laptop is visiting or for some reason I get a new wireless adapter, all I have to do is log into the router from a wired computer or one that already has access , find the denied MAC address in the access logs, and allow it access. Nothing has to be done on the client machines, and I don't have to worry about wardrivers.
    • Re:Wireless security (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have it set to only allow certain wireless MAC addresses to connect. If a friend with a wireless laptop is visiting or for some reason I get a new wireless adapter, all I have to do is log into the router from a wired computer or one that already has access , find the denied MAC address in the access logs, and allow it access. Nothing has to be done on the client machines, and I don't have to worry about wardrivers.

      This is informative? Do you know it takes 5 seconds to change a MAC address in windows 2
  • by xintegerx ( 557455 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @05:49PM (#7538242) Homepage
    This story should be rated M. It has many sexual references, including:

    "laid"
    "busting"
    "police found the driver--with no pants on--" (so they find that guy but couldn't find their pants first?)"
    "serious ramifications"

    Check out this author's hidden meanings! I think we know who's going to be applying for that spot of porn viewer at that PD! "I'm just doing research for my next article!"
  • What a freak! I'm sure this character kept stains on the carpet of his vehicle to count coup Lewinski style. Piling on the charges (theft of comm) to nail this fool isn't itself a bad thing but it is annoying to have another tenuous connection paraded in the press between tech and child porn.

  • Of course the laptop was in a hand.

    To leave it on your lap when you're nekid from the waist down would be to risk sterilization by cauterization.
  • by beni1207 ( 603012 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @06:05PM (#7538335)
    Investigation showed the man had hooked into a wireless computer network at a nearby house to gain access to a resident's Internet connection and download images from child pornography websites.
    The scheme, known as "war driving," allows a computer with wireless Internet capability to tap into a wireless home network and access the World Wide Web, usually without fear of discovery.


    Well there's a nice bit of yellow-press tradition. Linking war driving strongly to the child porn aspect and never mentioning that most people who do this aren't doing anything illegal with the information or access they're using. In fairness to the story, most of it was about how stupid in general this guy was being and the disgusting stuff found at his residence later, but three paragraphs at the end of the story seems to shift a lot of attention to a very minor aspect of the crime. He could have been collecting that junk from his home cable modem connection just as easily.
    • Linking war driving strongly to the child porn aspect and never mentioning that most people who do this aren't doing anything illegal with the information or access they're using.

      Wardriving doesn't even necessarily involve using the access, does it? I thought wardriving was simply looking for open access points, not necessarily using them.

    • Actually, you're mistaken. The very act of Wardriving in certain countries (obviously including canada) and certain states in the US is illegal, for a variety of reasons.

      The simple point is this: they [the homeowner] are paying for a service, whereas you [the wardriver] are accessing their service without permission, and in doing so stealing. Crime, period.
  • Oh my... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) * on Saturday November 22, 2003 @06:10PM (#7538354) Journal
    "The "War Driver" was caught naked from the waist down driving the wrong way down a one-way street, with a laptop in hand [downloading child pornography]."

    I should think that perhaps the "Theft of Communications" charge is the least of this individual's problems. That's really one for the record books there, almost to the point of being a publicity stunt of some sort. Naked from the waist down, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, using a laptop, and downloading child pornography. What do you say to something like that? I mean that for each person.

    [Suspect] "There a... problem officer?"

    [Officer] "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

    -blank stare-

    [Officer] "You were driving the wrong way down this one-way street."

    [Suspect] "Oh my, well I'm sorry about that, officer..."

    [Officer] "Well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to write you a... hey, where are your pants?!"

    [Suspect] "Oh.. well.. I'm getting them clea..." -gets cut off by cop-

    [Officer] "What is that? Are you using a laptop computer while driving sir??"

    [Suspect] "Well, I uhh..." -gets cut off again-

    [Officer] "What the HELL is that??!! Is that child pornography??!! Oh God..

    [Suspect] "No, no! It's not what you think!"

    [Officer] "Just where the hell are you getting that from?! Oh, so you're connected to someone's wireless internet from here???"

    -Cop thinks to himself: "how the hell am I going to write this one up?"

  • For those that distrust that the news links are all via canoe.ca, here's The Toronto Star [thestar.com]. I also heard the news item first on CBC Radio.

    I guess that open WiFi router didn't have the Belken auto-anti-pr0n nagger eh?

  • by duren686 ( 463275 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @06:15PM (#7538390) Homepage Journal
    Excuse me, whose rights online? I know I don't feel the least bit oppressed.

    Am I to believe that there's a large enough segment of Slashdot users who would drive around downloading child porn to make this a "your rights online" issue?
  • Sketchy terms (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cvk ( 696855 )

    From the Canadian Criminal Code, S.342.1 Unauthorized Use of Computer:

    342.1 (1) Every one who, fraudulently and without colour of right,

    Definitions (2) In this section,

    • "computer password"
    • "computer password" means any data by which a computer service or computer system is capable of being obtained or used;

    Doesn't that make a URL a "computer password?" Would I be guilty of violating S.342.1 by telling my friends to go to goatse.cx or tubgirl.com?

    It's fun to surprise our friends (and enemies

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @07:10PM (#7538704) Homepage Journal
    CP issues aside, how can you be convicted of 'stealing' when you used a presumed open/free service.

    Since public wireless does exist, and isn't that uncommon, you can safely assume that if you run across an UNSECURED signal its for public use... Be it from a persons house or the nearby cyber cafe.. you cant be 100% sure where that signal is coming from anyway....

    Now if its encrypted, or otherwise secured , THEN you might have a case...

    However, considering 90% of home broadband is flat rate, ( and a lot of dedicated business service is too ) since when is the bandwidth being 'stolen'? that's almost as bad as saying music piracy is theft.. ( if the home owner had pay per use, or if you blow their monthly cap and incur charges.. sure, then its theft of service.. )

  • by asr_man ( 620632 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @09:43PM (#7539492)
    ...Warjacking?
  • by AbbyNormal ( 216235 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @10:09PM (#7539593) Homepage
    wearing a seatbelt?
  • by camperslo ( 704715 ) on Saturday November 22, 2003 @10:45PM (#7539755)
    DISCLAIMER: Not knowing Canadian regulations, my post treats this event from a U.S. perspective only, as it relates to wireless networks here. I'm addressing the network access issue only, not defending kiddie porn, driving naked, or driving in the wrong direction.

    As I see it, there was no theft of "communications". He didn't break into any computers, nor block/alter/view data coming in and out of them. There is no indication that he did anything to bypass security measures of either the network or the machines on it. There is no indication that he did nor intended any harm to the network or its users.
    He used net connectivity, apparently with all hardware functioning as designed and configured. It is the operator of the network that is responsible for configuration including access permissions. Many run hot spots intentionally, some through ignorance. In either case, the host is functioning as an ISP. What's relevant here is regulation of the wireless access to the ISP.

    In the U.S., 802.11b hardware is allowed unlicensed use of spectrum, as regulated by part 15 of the F.C.C. rules. Part 15 products are required to include a notice: "Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) this device may not cause harmful interferrence, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undersired operation." Harmful interference refers to that affecting licensed communications only. Are there licensed users of this spectrum? Yes.

    All ham radio licensees (except Novices) are authorized by the FCC Rules, Part 97.301(a) to use all operating modes in the 2390-2450 MHz band. 802.11b equipment is not allowed to interferre. A ham could reasonably ask anyone using 802.11b gear to stop operating if they cannot otherwise correct an interferrence problem (typically by changing channels, lowering power, reducing antenna height, changing location, using a directional antenna etc). The 802.11b gear operator has no regulatory protection against interference from the ham operator, other 802.11b users, or even microwave ovens which operate in-band at 2450 MHz.

    In summary, 802.11b gear is unprotected from interference, and the operator of such gear is on their own to try to make it work as desired, with no guarantee of success.
    802.11b hardware is being used as designed when people, known to the host or not, access open networks. It isn't communications theft nor is it tresspassing.
  • by danila ( 69889 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @06:52AM (#7541274) Homepage
    We all agree here that the story is ridiculous. But it seems to me that the journalists are just adding to that, not making it clearer.

    1) What the hell is "Sun media", is it even remotedely similar to "Sun" in the UK?
    2) "watching a movie on his laptop of a 10-year-old girl performing fellatio on an adult" - how does this scribbler know about that? Does the police tells this kind of info at press conferences? How do they know the age? I smell bullshit.
    3) "Stealing Internet, or War Driving as it is sometimes called, is becoming more and more common among perverts trying to avoid online detection." and "A man... has become the first man in Toronto charged for allegedly stealing an Internet connection." - well, how do they know about all that perverts if they have only busted one?
    4) This quill-driver thinks that saying "allegedly" a lot allows him to write any kind of crap... Sadly, it seems to be true.
    5) The movie can easily be closed by pressing Alt+F4, takes only about a second. Unless the policeman run to the car and busted the door open, I don't think the cop had a chance to see it playing. I mean, even my parents don't usually manage to catch me watching movies of 10-year-old girls performing fellatio on adults - and they only have to open the door. :)
    6) As a side note, I like the department name. ;) "Police child exploitation section" - I though those guys were supposed to serve and protect, not to exploit the kids...
    7) "They recovered 10 computers and thousands of CDs and floppy disks" - yeah, sure. We have a guy who can break into wireless networks and he still stores images on floppies. Puuuhhlease! Not to mention that even one thousand of CDs is one terabyte of data, which is fucking huge. People who can collect that much child porn, don't usually drive naked, while watching child porn and masturbating. Ergo, the scribbler is probably lying again.
    8) "It involves some of the worst child pornography that we've ever seen" and "it's becoming typical of what we're seeing" - that's in the same paragraph. Can't you at least decide whether it is the worst or something you see every day?!
    9) "child pornography... including young children and babies". Well, I thought the point of child porn was that it features young children. :-) Is there even a thing such as an old child?

    Some of these concernes may be unwarranted, but overall the story reads just like a million or so of stories about scary paedophiles (although I applaud the officer for using the words "like-minded people" instead of "evil paedophile scum").

    Some more info about Internet child porn: original version [slashdot.org] and a censored version [wikipedia.org] at Wikipedia.

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