Ana Viseu on Sat, 21 Sep 2002 01:05:04 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> warchalking wireless networks

[BBC news had a good article on Nokia's condemnation of warchalking as
theft. Warchalking <> consists of marking in
sidewalks, pavements and walls with symbols indicating locations where a
wireless network can be accessed for free. It is a public, slow, physical,
cheap, low-tech to access just the opposite: a wireless network. It is one
more example of the use of old communication forms to transform and adapt
new ones. It will be interesting to see where this clash of interests will
end. Best. Ana]
19 September, 2002

Wireless hitchhikers branded as thieves

Phone maker Nokia has come down strongly against warchalking.

It has condemned as theft the placing of chalk symbols on walls and 
pavements at places where people can use wireless net access.

An advisory issued by the handset maker said anyone using bandwidth without 
the permission of the person paying for it was simply stealing.

The criticism follows a warning by the FBI about the potential dangers of 

Stolen pipes

The idea for warchalking first started circulating on the internet in July
it has become something of a geek hobby.

The website set up to support the growing community of warchalkers hosts
details of places that have been warchalked and advice to people who want
to chalk their own networks.

Some security experts have raised questions about warchalking saying that
it could encourage hacking.

Now Nokia has joined the chorus of criticism by saying that anyone who
sits outside an office and uses a company's wireless network to do their
own web surfing is stealing.

"This is theft, plain and simple," wrote Nokia in its advisory.

The company said that anyone using a company's bandwidth without
permission is reducing the amount of a valuable resource available to the
workers in that organisation.

The advisory was brought to light by technology news magazine Computing.

Nokia warned that if too many warchalkers log on together, the whole
network inside a company could slow down.

It also said that unscrupulous spammers could use a network as a proxy to
despatch millions of unwanted e-mail messages with no danger of being

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Tudo vale a pena se a alma não é pequena.
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