Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/12/finland_unsecured_wifi/

Finland mulls legalizing use of unsecured Wi-Fi

Lack of harm cited

By Dan Goodin

Posted in Broadband, 12th June 2010 08:02 GMT

When it comes to the unauthorized use of open Wi-Fi networks, the Finnish government may say: If you can't beat them, join them.

At least, that's our interpretation of this badly garbled Google translation of a YLE.fi article. It says the country's Ministry of Justice is investigating the decriminalization of using unsecured wireless networks because of the large number of unprotected access points and the widespread use of them by people without permission.

The government body also pointed to the difficulty of monitoring networks for unauthorized users and the lack of harm caused. What's more, it's not always clear when an unsecured network is intended to be used as a public hotspot and when it's the product of an owner who has deemed it private but is too lazy or uninformed to bother encrypting its signal.

This sounds like a fairly commonsense approach, though Finnish citizens should probably be reminded that much of what they say and do over unsecured Wi-Fi networks is completely open to eavesdroppers in the next room or in roving wardriving cars. ®