Accessing an unsecured wireless network is a felony?

Here's the story: A Florida man parked outside someone's house and connected to their (unsecured) wireless network. As a result, he has been charged with a third-degree felony.

Here's the question: What crime has actually been committed? "Stealing" something that has apparently been freely given away?

There is a reasonable expectation that the homeowner should have known enough to ask the right questions, like "Can anyone else access my network?" If he could not secure the network himself (it's not exactly difficult) he should have known who to ask.

Here's a parallel: Leave your front door unlocked and go on vacation. When you return home, your house will almost certainly have been burgled. Now try to claim on your homeowner's insurance. Odds are your insurance company will refuse – and rightly so – on the grounds that it is reasonable for them to expect you to lock your door. The only crime that I can see here is loitering… with intent to access the Internet.

I say punish him for what he has actually done, not for what he could-have/should-have/might-have done. The law does not exist to protect fools from the consequences of their folly.

Unfortunately we live in an age when possession of a crowbar or lock-picks is viewed as evidence of intent to commit a crime, whether of not any crime has actually been committed.

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