You may still be able to leech off other people's wireless networks for a little while longer thanks to the House Judiciary Committee

With growing concerns over internet security, one Maryland delegate decided to take action.  Brought before the Maryland General Assembly last week was a bill sponsored by LeRoy E. Myers, Jr. criminalizing unauthorized use of a wireless access point anywhere in the state.

The legislation was brought forth when Myers noticed his WiFi connection was being used by a neighbor without his permission. According to The Herald-Mail, the neighbor claims he bought a new laptop and thought he was accessing the internet through a cable TV hookup.

Under the legislation, House Bill 1377,  any person intentionally accessing another person’s computer or network without authorization will face up to three years imprisonment and up to a $1,000 fine. Any persons attempting to access an unauthorized network to cause harm to another person’s computer or cause harm on the internet could face charges up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Several critics of the bill claim that: 1) To track who accesses another person’s network would be entirely too difficult and 2) owners should set passwords and secure their networks if they do not want someone else using it. 

"A technically unsophisticated user, such as a visiting parent, or simply a houseguest unfamiliar with the home's Internet could and probably would choose the first available network,” wrote a public defender’s office in a written testimony opposing the legislation. “A more effective way to prevent unauthorized access would be for owners' to secure their wireless networks with assistance where necessary from Internet service providers or Vendors."

Currently the House Judiciary Committee has deemed the bill an “unfavorable report”, so the likelihood if its passage is very unlikely.

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