Singaporean Teen Gets Convicted For “Stealing” Bandwidth
So, in a follow up to a post I did a few weeks ago, it turns out that a teen was not only charged, but has now been convicted for using another’s wireless connection without their permission in Singapore. At the time, I didn’t have the rest of the details, wondering if, perhaps, the teen, whose name is Garyl Tan Jia Luo, 17 years old, was involved in less than legal activities.
Downloading music, movies, naughty pictures, or involved in hacking or phishing activities, perhaps?
Not, at all.
Well, it seems like all he was doing was “chatting online” after his mother confiscated his modem. In fact, Mr. Luo was convicted under the Computer Misuse Act.
The AP reports:
Computer Misuse Act … says anyone convicted of securing access without authority to a computer for the purpose of obtaining computer services is liable to up to three years in jail, a 10,000 dollar (6,490 US) fine, or both.
Mr. Luo was convicted and sentenced to 18 months probation without any internet connection, and ordered to get treatment for his addiction to computer gaming. While its hard to remain neutral about the social mores about other countries in the world, its a wonder how such lunacy could receive actually NOT get thrown out based on the frivolities of the case alone.
After all, “stealing” bandwidth is perhaps the only practice that’s more common than “stealing” copyrighted content, and what makes it even more ludicrous is that Singapore is about to, apparently, start offering free wireless access in public spots later this year, anyway.
While I am certainly not worried that police officers are going to start raiding local Starbucks for people NOT using the paid wi-fi service, I do hope it doesn’t represent a sort of precedent that allows law enforcement — in any jurisdiction — to jail people for using a wi-fi connection that isn’t ‘theirs’.
Tony Hung is the editor of the BlogHerald. He is also a physician finishing his last year of residency in General Internal Medicine, and blogs at Deep Jive Interests , where he rants, occasionally, on new media topics.
I am so busted!