Monday, November 07, 2005

Westchester, NY wants to outlaw unsecured Wi-Fi

This is ridiculous and sad. These pols are going to make it impossible for small businesses or even homes to provide Wi-Fi to any comers. What's the point? Sounds like the only bunch such a law would be good for are the cable and telephone service providers who also sell internet access -- such a law could force more individual homes to purchase service instead of piggybacking on nearby networks. But it will kill off all those free networks at cafe's and parks and such. These Westchester pols probably have little to no knowledge about Wi-Fi and internet security, what's the deal?

Here's the article -- CNet News: Unsecured Wi-Fi would be outlawed by N.Y. county

Here is a great article and demonstrates the exact sort of activity would be outlawed by laws such as the one Westchester wants to pass: A Daddy Techbucks Makes a Village a Hot Spot (NYT)

Andes, N.Y.
Mr. Gerdes knew that Andesans already had exposure to Wi-Fi: Rosalie Glauser, the owner of the Slow Down Food Company here, has been offering it to customers since 2004. After he plugged a Linksys router and antenna into his Internet-equipped cable jack - provided by the phone company for $54 a month - he had an epiphany.

Soon after, he got a letter from the local library asking for a donation. "I like to give contributions that have an effect," he said. He had another router and antenna (about $100) delivered to the library, suggesting that they be plugged into its broadband connection, thus allowing visitors to piggyback free on its Internet service.

"It sounded kinky," said Gloria Carlson, 62, a retired New York City schoolteacher who is the director of the library.

But she came around. Sitting at her desk one day in the latest (in her words) "wiffy hot spot," she faced two computers provided for public use: one a dinosaur that makes a Google search a time-consuming chore, the other donated in the late 90's by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and plugged into a high-speed connection. Mr. Gerdes's gift means no more waiting for the "fast" machine because Wi-Fi reaches throughout the library and across its lawn.

After hooking up the library, Mr. Gerdes got busy. He gave routers to some businesses along Main Street, and all agreed to share their access. Andes Hotel guests can Web-surf on the porch. Wi-Fi signals swirl at the Cantina and at Cassie's Kitchen, and at the Slow Down Food Company "everybody's taking advantage of it," said Ms. Glauser, who counted five laptops on her tables one Saturday afternoon.

"It's just as easy to come into town and do a few things on the Internet," said Charlie Gross, who owns a house on the town's outskirts and visits village hot spots in lieu of paying for service.

It's resourceful sorts like Mr. Gross who could affect the phone company's bottom line. "We are aware of it," said Peter Curran, the manager of broadband services.


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