Time Warner, AT&T target WiFi hotspots

— 2:28 AM on July 11, 2002

Leeching bandwidth off active wireless networks has become quite a phenomenon of late, especially with places like Starbucks offering wireless Internet access. This has been great for WiFi users, but according to this story over at C|Net, it hasn't made AT&T or Time Warner Cable happy.

Sharing bandwidth with non-paying customers is against many broadband providers' rules, and there's more at stake than just the volume of bandwidth:

"Individuals utilizing (their subscription) in this manner to carry out criminal activity would be able to do so in an anonymous manner," the Time Warner Cable letter warns. "In such circumstances, when law enforcement is attempted to trace such activity, the trail would end with your account."
The issue of wireless anonymity is a big one, but I'd hate to see it kill off public WiFi networks, even if this is just a ploy by broadband providers to try to introduce more expensive services with unrestricted bandwidth sharing. Thanks to my dad, of all people, for being the first to tip me off on this story.
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