Unsecured wifi might be contributory negligence

Nicholas Bohm nbohm at ernest.net
Sat Feb 18 13:16:42 GMT 2012

On 17/02/2012 21:07, Igor Mozolevsky wrote:
> On 17 February 2012 19:13, Mary Hawking <maryhawking at tigers.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>> Could you elaborate on this doctrine and whether it is a legal one? It’s new
>> to me.
>> Sounds as though it could be used for almost anything – children being
>> evolutionally programmed (like adults) to be curious about new experiences:
>> does the duty (if there is one) extend to adults and how is it defined?
> On top of what Francis said, there is a case of Taylor v Glasgow Corp
> (not on Bailii) where a 7 year old ate "attractive" poisonous berries
> (which were fenced off, but within reach) and died...
> In any event, isn't "contributory negligence" a defence to a claim of
> negligence, and not a form of accessory liability?

Yes.  (Usually only a partial defence, in the sense that it reduces the
quantum of liability to the claimant if the was partly his own fault.)

I think the original reference was intended to be about whether ISPs
were liable to contribute to their customers' loss if their customers
were sued successfully by rightsholders as a result of using unsecured
routers and the ISPs had failed to do what they should to help the
customer secure the router.  (This isn't contributory negligence in the
technical sense, it's about liability under the Civil Liability
(Contribution) Act 1978
<http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1978/47/contents>.)  The answer is
that it's a nice thought, but there are too many imponderables along the
way to make a reliable guess about the outcome.

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