Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Scary Free Wireless

A number of interesting scenarios for ubiquitous computing require wireless to be commonly available, like cell connections are now. Many people want this to be available without everyone having to give money to the large corporate providers when so much access is available and unused in people’s homes. You shouldn’t need to pay a provider (or Starbucks) a per minute or hourly rate just to check your e-mail.

This is a big part of the argument that people have for having a wireless router in their home be open to all. The idea being that if enough people do this, networks will be commonly available when people want or need them.

Utah seems to be one of the first steps towards mandating the non-sharing of wireless networks by requiring password protection or nanny filters on all home wifi routers. The justification? Protect the children, of course.

There is an ongoing battle to get rid of the anonymous Internet that I came to age on. Parents on myspace, locking down of open access, requirements to record access. All in the name of protecting children from the small measure of pedophiles that aren’t their family and friends (look at the statistics) or from seeing sex (as if they can’t anyway).

From the Associated Press via Forbes:

Utah Mulls Requiring Wireless Passwords

By Brock Vergakis - 04.18.07, 3:58 PM ET

In an effort to keep teenagers with laptop computers from driving around neighborhoods in search of a wireless Internet connection to look at pornography, state lawmakers are considering a proposal that would force homeowners to limit access to their wireless networks with a password. The proposed legislation comes from Cheryl Preston, an Internet law professor at the Mormon church's Brigham Young University. She's developed several proposals designed to keep children from seeing pornography on the Web. Legislators began considering them Wednesday. "If you choose to have wireless, and allow anyone within a geographic area (to access it), then you ought to be responsible for that and you need to take reasonable efforts to prevent access by minors to your service," Preston said. Under Preston's proposal, anyone who unintentionally failed to block access to their network would be fined. Intentionally leaving a wireless network open to minors would be considered the same as publishing pornography. The proposal also says that anyone who wants to leave a wireless network open could do so if they used a filtering program that blocks pornography. Preston has another proposal under which Utah's Internet service providers could be rewarded for filtering out pornography before it ever reaches homes, businesses, schools or telephones in this state. Under the proposal, Utah-based Internet service providers would be designated as "community conscious" by state government if they require that its Internet users don't publish obscene material, take down obscene material and comply with court orders to remove any prohibited content. She said tax incentives could also be offered to companies that participate in the program. "If you're a Utah provider we'll give you a designation that you can use in your advertising that you're an ISP that's chosen to (be) helpful in eliminating pornography. If you choose not to do that, great. But the citizens in Utah will be made aware," she said. [...]