Is stealing wireless wrong?
A man has been arrested after being spotted allegedly sitting in a street
with a laptop using someone else's unsecured wireless connection. Is it immoral
to do this?
So here's the thing. You're walking down the street in Hypotheticalville and in front of you is a
gentleman who, when he walks, spills seemingly endless torrents of golden coins
on to the pavement behind him.
He seems unconcerned by this and you notice that if not picked up, these
magic coins quickly evaporate. Is it moral for you to pick a few up?
It's the kind of tree-falls-in-the-forest whimsy that an undergraduate
philosopher might mull over for a moment, but back in the real world a not
entirely dissimilar debate is being played out.
The man arrested in a street in west London is at least the third person to
be accused of breaching the law by taking internet service without permission.
The Communications Act 2003 says a "person who (a) dishonestly obtains an
electronic communications service, and (b) does so with intent to avoid payment
of a charge applicable to the provision of that service, is guilty of an
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