Wardriving

Internet access can be a problem for the continuous cruiser. This weekend I have to do some research, write a couple of articles and design a website and for that I need to be online.

So today I travelled slowly along the Grand Union from Kensal Green towards Paddington with my computer on the seat next to me, looking for a wifi signal that wasn’t passworded. This activity is known in techie circles as wardriving. I finally found a strong unpassworded signal where the canal meets Harrow Road, next to a pretty blue bridge.

Is this legal? In Ealing a man was prosecuted for sitting in his car every day with his laptop open, parked outside someone’s house. The police found he had been using the householder’s wifi connection or “stealing bandwidth” as the law refers to it. The complication is that some people deliberately share their connections (e.g. cafes might offer free wifi) , whilst others don’t realise they should password their connection or don’t know how to do it. And there is no way to tell them apart.

Inside a boat I’m not that conspicuous and as I’m cruising a lot I won’t be using the same connection for long at a time, so no-one will notice. And I really do need to check my emails…

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