Cantennas Illegal?

Cory Doctorow just posted this story at boingboing. Apparently some kid got busted for screwing with his school network. When they searched his house they found bunch of cantennas made out of empty pringle cans and such. The cops allegedly claimed that it is illegal to possess them!

Cory comments this in his post:

I’m not sure which law-book these two are reading, but this is simply not true. If there are cops from a “Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force” in Sacramento who think that making your own WiFi antenna is illegal, I think the Bee and other papers should be covering it, to be sure, but not because it’s true: because it’s a shockingly stupid and dangerous thing for a cop to believe, especially one who is billed as some kind of high-tech specialist.

Cory is my hero! 😛

I guess according to the Sacramento “Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force” those who sell cantennas would be considered trafficking illegal goods. They would probably also need to arrest all these people posting instructions on how to make your own. Even one of the O’Reilly bloggers would have to go to jail.

This happens when you have people ignorant about technology working on “High-Tech Crimes Task Force”. This reminds me the Hackers movie in which the clueless FBI agent gives the same spiel about evil hackers every time he is interviewed on TV. Or course the movie is silly, but the situation is similar. We have a cop who doesn’t know any better, making stuff up for the media. Gah…

The same cop also claims that it is illegal to access a wireless network without proper authorization. This is also bullshit, but not as far fetched. After all, some people got arrested for that already. So the legality of using your neighbors access point is in question right now.


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