Well, it is in sunny Singapore, where a local teen was tried and convicted for “stealing” wi-fi bandwith from his neighbour’s wireless connection.Â The act of stealing over-the-air bandwith under the Computer Misuse Act is an offence which could land Mr. Garyl Tan Jia Luo, a 17 year old, in jail for as many as three years.Â
While the details are admittedly sketchy — we dont’ know why he was using another’s wi-fi connection, we don’t know if Mr. Luo had any prior convictions, and the judge wouldn’t consider the minimum sentence for what sounds like a trivial crime — one wonders what kind of precedent this would set.
And even if its enforceable on a population basis.
While the social mores are quite different in a place like Singapore, I’m pretty sure this kind of chicanery would only not fly in North America, but would be met with active resistance.Â And that’s besides the actual ability to enforce this law.Â I mean, who amongst us hasn’t ‘borrowed’ a wi-fi connection every now and again?Â Â And is Starbucks going to start employing people to wander around checking if people are “stealing” wi-fi? (maybe they’d be an accessory?)
If anyone is over there in Singapore reading this, I’d love to hear what the tech community there is thiniking.