Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Technical Question

Okay. Now, I'm not asking for opinions here, but I'd like to hear from someone who actually knows the laws regarding this.

See, Tom's company is letting him use an oldish laptop computer at home for a work-related project just using Windows. So yesterday here at home, just for fun, Tom clicked on the Internet Explorer icon and aha! He was able to connect to the Internet. He was very surprised because we have no actual computer access. Later we talked and figured that perhaps the people upstairs are online and this wireless laptop is picking up their signal. Or perhaps could it be because we have (and are paying for) the most basic tv cable on Earth from Time Warner?

Well. Tom is thinking we're doing something highly illegal now. He's feeling guilty whenever he goes online and is expecting the Cable/Satellite Police to come crashing down our front door. heh.

But I've been like, "Hey. Did we tweek any cable wires? Did we even plug anything besides the power cord into the wall? I don't think so." I told him, "What do you think you should do? Call the cable company and confess, "Uh, I turned on my laptop and got online mysteriously and I'd like to turn myself in?"

So there's my question. Is Tom right and we're doing something very illegal? Or am I right that it's ok? Any legal gurus in this field out there?

It's temporary that we will have this laptop here at the house, but I've got to say it's kinda nice not having to make the journey to the city library in order to talk with all of you. Now I'll just need to keep the control I've gained these past couple weeks of not being online and being set free from having to check my email and blog every 15 minutes. heh.


P.S. I just noticed something which says we are connected to 'linksys'. Hmm... doesn't sound like something having to do with Time Warner (our cable company). ???


Anonymous said...

You are connecting to one of your neighbor's wireless networks. They are paying for access to cable internet. Linksys is the company that made the cable modem they are using and they just didn't name their network something else. I hate to say it, but you really shouldn't be connecting to their network without their permission. You may be slowing down their connection performance. If they have the know how, they can lock you out of it.

Jammie J. said...

It's likely that your laptop is picking up one of your neighbor's wireless network. linksys is the basic, default name the LinkSys (ha ha) gives their systems.

I have my own wireless network, but my laptop is kind of whorish and will go to whichever one is unprotected in the neighborhood, depending on which way the electronic winds are blowing.

If your neighbors don't want people on their network, they can password protect it or put in the MAC number of the only devices in their house that should be able to connect.

As long as you're not downloading music or big ol' honkin' movies, you're not hurting anything. It's kind of an accepted thing that if you have an unprotected network, other people will use it. Like I said, laptops are not discriminatory about such things. :)

Debra said...

Thanks, Jammie and Anon! Hmm... I'd not thought about the fact that we could be slowing down somebody else's connection--uh oh! So being the nice people we are...heh... I guess we'll go back to just using the good ol' library computers for our Internet access. Thanks for pointing this out and helping us learn something new! :) Blessings, Debra

Laurie said...

Technically is it illegal. But you can take that laptop to any place that advertises they have wireless internet service and use it there legally. Like a coffes shop, etc. That way you'd have more privacy than the library and it would be perfectly legal!

martha said...

My goodness. If you're not downloading high-density materials (pictures) you will NOT be slowing down your neighbor's connection in any noticeable way.

If they DO notice any slowdown, it is very simple and free for them to "lock you out" of their signal.

Anonymous said...

As well as possibly slowing down their connection they may have a download limit which you may be helping them exceed. :(

Judy said...

I watched with horror as a local man was on TV for using the wireless at a coffee shop in my area. They caught him sitting in his car in front of the store.

I had been using a similar setup from a coffee shop across the street from me. I never had to do anything special to set it up, it was just 'there' when I logged on.

It seems like it's one of those things that if the person doesn't mind you are fine, but if they do, you could be in big trouble.

That was enough to stop me.

Hilmarose said...

I know you probably took care of this and all by now but you could go ask upstairs if it is theirs you could be possibly using... maybe it is another house all together... but IF it is theirs maybe they won't mind. I do have to say that when anyone is using my wireless it does NOT slow down my connection at all... BTW, Mine IS password protected so no one but those I choose can use it.... only because I did, in the past, have someone sit in my driveway and use their laptop :)