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If I have access to an open WiFi network with internet, is it illegal to connect and use the internet without the owners knowledge or is it their responsibility to secure it?

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closed as off topic by Zoredache, iglvzx, Journeyman Geek, Simon Sheehan, Nick Josevski Mar 9 '12 at 4:12

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This is off-topic for Superuser, as we do not offer legal advice. Looking at Legality of piggybacking, I would say that most governments consider it to be unethical/criminal. –  iglvzx Mar 9 '12 at 3:55

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I would say that it would greatly depend on where you live.

Based on where you live:

Is it illegal to go to your neighbor's house and put a splitter on their coaxial cable and run it back over to your house and leech off of their Cable TV service?

Is it illegal to go to your neighbor's house and hook up a hose to their water hookup, run it back over to your house for your use/enjoyment?

Is it illegal to go to your neighbor's house and hook up a wire to their electrical box, run it back over to your house for your use/enjoyment?

If you answered yes to any/all of these, then it would be safe to assume that it would also be illegal to use an open WiFi network that your neighbor is paying a service for. At the very least, it would most likely be against the terms and agreements of service for your neighbor to be sharing their WiFi connection with neighbors. I would say, do the neighborly thing and let them know that their WiFi is open and not secure. After all, if you do something illegal on the internet, would you really want to start a neighborly dispute over the stupidity of something that you've done.

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