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Singapore goes tough on unauthorized wireless net access

A 17-year-old juvenile recently caused a stir in Singapore when he became the first “recipient” to flout with the local cyber law legislation. He was charged with piggybacking on someone else’s wireless Internet connection. The “recipient” was accused of utilizing as laptop computer to gain unauthorized access to a home wireless network

If the juvenile is found guilty to the above mentioned charge, he would be imprisoned for approximately three years and fined up to SGD$ 10,000 under the provisions of the Computer Misuse Act.

Responding to comments about the concerns on the impact of piggybacking unsecured home wireless networks on Singapore, a spokesperson for Cisco Systems observed that while there are no statistics available to identify the concern, it is already quite widespread in Singapore.

This concern is further “aided” by the features available in most modern notebook computers and personal digital assistants (PDA’s) that have the capability of sniffing out unsecured networks and allow the user to hop online for free, with just a few uncomplicated clicks. Additionally, the availability of several guides online, which provides such accessibility directions, coupled with the low cost of wireless networking equipment have “encouraged” a mass of unprotected network users to unlawfully access the Net.

This unsuspecting menace can be addressed and eradicated if the consumer is made conscious as to the implications that would arise consequent to unauthorized wireless net access. Many people are still under the premonition that this is a cheap means of internet access, and are ignorant that such access can be treated as a serious offence. Some are already capitalizing on this “renaissance”, gaining access and downloading pirated MP3s, defaming people which would give rise to infringement of civil and intellectual property rights, as well as serious offences such as defamation, right to privacy, etc.