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German court: Password protect your Wi-Fi, or else!

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 13 May 2010 22:41 User comments (13)

German court: Password protect your Wi-Fi, or else! The German top court has ruled this week that Internet users must password-protect their Wi-Fi, or face a fine if someone accesses their connection and then downloads music or movies illegally.
Those with unsecured connections face up to a 100 euro fine if "a third party takes advantage" and is then caught doing so.

"Private users are obligated to check whether their wireless connection is adequately secured to the danger of unauthorized third parties abusing it to commit copyright violation," reads the court decision.

With that being said, the court did say the users were not responsible for the illegal content downloaded by those accessing their unsecured connections.

Additionally, the court said users would only be expected to add a password when they first set up their router, and not need to constantly update to the latest protections as they become available.

The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by a musician who sued an individual user for illegally downloading his music. The user proved he was away on vacation when the music was downloaded, but did admit he had unsecured Wi-Fi.

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13 user comments

114.5.2010 1:57

"Secure" and "Wi-Fi" are two words that can't be used together. WPA2 currently is the most secure wireless standard, and takes the most time to crack, but even that can be cracked if someone is determined.

Yes, someone looking to pirate off a wireless connection will look for an unsecured one but, failing that they will just pick which ever one is least protected.

214.5.2010 3:15

so the courts go after the easy target and criminalise the innocent, again!

314.5.2010 3:21

Just a point, nothing else:
NINTENDO DS's WIFI ABILITY DOES NOT SUPPORT ANY KIND OF "PROTECTION," NOT EVEN WEP!
So if the Germans want to, for example, Trade pokemon with WiFi or play Mario Kart etc. games in internet, they must pay 100 fine if someone pirates a movie while you play?

414.5.2010 5:03

Originally posted by SalaHyena:
Just a point, nothing else:
NINTENDO DS's WIFI ABILITY DOES NOT SUPPORT ANY KIND OF "PROTECTION," NOT EVEN WEP!
So if the Germans want to, for example, Trade pokemon with WiFi or play Mario Kart etc. games in internet, they must pay 100 fine if someone pirates a movie while you play?

your joking right? i swapped a few mons' at the time of pearl and diamond and i never removed my password and everything worked..

514.5.2010 13:20

Interesting...How does one prove it was "a third party" that did the deed? Also, what is "adequately secured"? Just a basic password?

What's next? Are you going to be fined if you leave your front door unlocked and someone comes in and makes some obscene phone calls? How about your cell phone?


614.5.2010 13:37
Paula_X
Inactive

seig heil!! .. burn the banks and ministries !!!

so they think a "password" will stop hackers?.. just watch as thousands of wardrivers go and hack government wifi over the weekend and they come back on monday morning having to fine themselves 100 a shot.. hahahahaha

This could be fun.. they are tempting a battle they will lose and it's going to be very funny.. another example of the "big brother" european super state the krauts want to set up bullying pewople for the benefit and profits of foreign big business.. oh dear.. that happened in the 1920's too .. and we aren't playing any more this side of the water..

Stupid law.. will be challenged and thrown out quickly.. this is like saying "somebody steals your car which you happen to have left unlocked in the garage and kills somebody.. you are liable for the compensation" .. hehehehe.. how can they prove something was passworded or not without running illegal electronic spying type surveillance on your home or office?.. we have laws to stop this kind of state abuse in Europe.

715.5.2010 4:34

Amazing...
private wifi without password (like at a house) = a fine
commercial wifi without a password (like at the Berlin airport) = just fine

815.5.2010 13:56

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Amazing...
private wifi without password (like at a house) = a fine
commercial wifi without a password (like at the Berlin airport) = just fine
I kind of see your point but Wi-Fi in airports etc. are meant to be accessed by anyone at the airport. On the other hand, only those you know should access your home Wi-Fi, hence this ruling.

"The only people who should buy Monster cable are people who light cigars with Benjamins." - Gizmodo

916.5.2010 6:02

Originally posted by Pop_Smith:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
Amazing...
private wifi without password (like at a house) = a fine
commercial wifi without a password (like at the Berlin airport) = just fine
I kind of see your point but Wi-Fi in airports etc. are meant to be accessed by anyone at the airport. On the other hand, only those you know should access your home Wi-Fi, hence this ruling.
Yes, but the whole point is that you DON'T KNOW who is going to HACK your wifi... which is the reason this law is so stupid!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 May 2010 @ 6:07

1016.5.2010 13:09

Originally posted by badbadbad:
Yes, but the whole point is that you DON'T KNOW who is going to HACK your wifi... which is the reason this law is so stupid!
As far as I can tell the ruling states that a civilian isn't liable to pay the 100 fine if someone hacks into their Wi-Fi. They only have to pay if someone uses their Wi-Fi for illegal purposes and it isn't protected with a password.

Quote:
Those with unsecured connections face up to a 100 euro fine if "a third party takes advantage" and is then caught doing so.

1116.5.2010 16:35

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Amazing...
private wifi without password (like at a house) = a fine
commercial wifi without a password (like at the Berlin airport) = just fine
It is indeed a joke. Case in point ~

Google Apology For Taking Personal Data

Google apologises for using Street View car to snoop on Wi-Fi browsing for four years



Main PC ~ Intel C2Q Q6600 (G0 Stepping)/Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3/2GB Crucial Ballistix PC2-8500/Zalman CNPS9700/Antec 900/Corsair HX 620W
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1217.5.2010 0:24

i learnt the hardway someone was accessing my wifi but i have now put a password on it that seems to stop them.I dont know if this law applies in just australia or all over the world but if you leave your car with the keys in it parked in the street or you leave someone without a licence in your car with the keys in it you can get fined.


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1317.5.2010 1:49

If I want to give away free internet to strangers, I don't see why that is wrong.

Piracy is going to happen, and wardriving only slows down the process. When you can spend $10 a month to get unlimited bandwidth at good speed from a VPN, wardriving just gets you slower connections at a higher price ($10 does not buy much gas).

Oh, and if piracy was a real crime, like terrorism, murder, kidnapping, etc...then law enforcement would not have trouble finding the culprit, as they could easily triangulate the signal being used to access the free wifi...the only reason they don't is because they know they can't get a criminal conviction, and that makes is a civil matter that has nothing to do with them.

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