Unsecured wifi might be contributory negligence

Tom Thomson colinthomson1 at o2.co.uk
Sat Feb 18 02:20:25 GMT 2012

17 February 2012 Francis Davey
> Rather less duty is owed to non-visitors like trespassers:
> http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/3/section/1

And (5) of that section, with the phrases "in an appropriate case" and "as are reasonable in all the circumstances of the case", ensures that no layman can possibly know what he has to do give warning that is adequate to fulfil the duty or indeed whether it is even possible to give such warning; and no lawyer can tell him unless he knows of some case law from a court high enough up the tree to set a binding precedent.  It is typical unreasonable law - ignorance of the law is no defence, but the law is phrased in such a way as to ensure that ordinary mortals like myself have no idea what it means.
> But this is all a long way from duty to protect others from IP infringement.

It is indeed, thank goodness.

Some ISPs provide their subscribers with routers which have the ISP's own firmware in them and can't be decently secured because because the firmware doesn't permit it.  For example Telefonica (in Spain) supplies a router manufactured by Thomson (the French company, nothing to do with me) from which Thomson's firmware (which supports both WPA and WPA2 in PSK mode) ripped out and Telefonica (or Movistar - not sure which) firmware added that cannot be configured to use WPA or WPA2. I imagine there will be UK ISPs that have done the same silly thing (I haven't had the misfortune to discover one yet - it's been something I've checked for ISPs I've considered using since I've switched to wireless from wired  access in 2005, but I've considered only a very small proportion of UK ISPs so that's no indication that they are all sensible).
I wonder what the liability of a subscriber caught in that silliness would be if the law changed to create a duty to protect against IP infringement.


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