Coalition pushes for ubiquitous open Wi-Fi networks

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is one of the founders of a coalition called the Open Wireless Movement, which advocates companies and individuals opening up their Wi-Fi networks for use by others. "We're working with a coalition of volunteer engineers to build technologies that will let users open their wireless networks without compromising their security or sacrificing bandwidth. And we're working with advocates to help change the way people and businesses think about Internet service," said the OWM on its website. "We're also teaching the world about the many benefits of open wireless in order to help society move away from closed networks and to a world in which openness is the default," it added. The effort probably has a ways to go, particularly given reports of folks around the world who have been arrested for "stealing" Internet access by logging onto unprotected Wi-Fi networks. Further, in the site's FAQ section, is this question: "Will opening my network make me liable for others' illegal actions?" Some might find the reply a bit unsettling. "This one is a bit more complicated, but the short answer is, 'We don't think so,'" said the OWM, which includes a link at the end of the reply leading to additional information on the topic. See the OWM website for more information.