Saturday, September 24, 2011

Austin TX police department had planned to warn residents about unsecured WiFi routers

Electronic Frontier Foundation is reporting about a plan by the Austin TX police department to “test wardrvie” in residential and commercial neighborhoods and look for wireless routers that are not properly secured (presumably with passwords and desired to levels of encryption).

Police were going to issue warnings to residents and local business owners with unsecured WiFi conncections.

Rainey Reitman has the story for EFF here.

The story doesn’t note where Texas has a downstream liability law that could hold residential WiFi users responsible for illegal use of their connections.  Whether there should exist such a law would set up a real debate, but EFF calls this a “Tragedy of the Commons” (Wiki article url ).

The Austin Police have postponed the plan.

KVUE has a story on the incident here

MiFi devices for travel may be safer because they require a long random code for entry to activate (unless they are physically lost). 

EFF tweeted the story today.  Let’s see if Webroot also tweets it.  

Wikipedia attribution link for downtown Austin picture. My last visit was in 2005. 

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