Unsecured wifi might be contributory negligence

Nicholas Bohm nbohm at ernest.net
Thu Feb 16 13:13:30 GMT 2012

On 16/02/2012 12:57, Roland Perry wrote:
> In article <4F3CEFB0.1050906 at ernest.net>, Nicholas Bohm
> <nbohm at ernest.net> writes
>> It seems to need restating from time to time that you are not legally
>> liable (civilly or criminally) for what third parties do with things
>> that you own or control (unless you have actively aided or abetted them,
>> or conspired with them, etc).
>> E.g. if you leave a ladder in your garden and a burglar uses it to
>> burgle your neighbour, you are not in breach of any duty of care because
>> you failed to secure the ladder.
>> The same applies to Wi-Fi routers.
> To continue the analogy, one problem is that your fingerprints will be
> all over both the ladder and the communications from your wi-fi router.
> We are still at the early stages of forensic analysis of
> communications, and there is still a tendency to think that the wi-fi
> owner is guilty (of whatever infraction has his fingerprints on it)
> until proved innocent.

I'm sure you're right.

And of course it's perfectly reasonable to interview the owner of the
ladder or the router to ask whether he was the burglar or the
downloader, or can provide information that might identify the culprit. 
But that implies no more than that he might be a useful witness if he
doesn't admit to being the guilty party. 

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