Sam Peterson II of Cedar Springs, Michigan pulled into a parking lot next to a coffee shop that offers a free wireless service to its customers. Without exiting his vehicle, he turned on his laptop and set the wireless connection to hook up to the coffee shop’s access point.
The access point required no password to allow access. It did not signify that the use of the access point was restricted to the patrons of the coffee shop. There was no signage in the coffee shop saying that only customers could use the access point. In short, the access point allows any and all comers to connect up and use the internet connection it serves.
Peterson was approached by a local policeman who, upon learning he was accessing the signal from the coffee shop, referred the situation to the local prosecutors’ office when he, “found one and thought, ‘Well, let’s run it by the prosecutor’s office and see what they want to do.’” A week later, Peterson got a letter in the mail telling him he was facing a felony charge and that an arrest warrant had been requested. Faced with a possible felony charge, Peterson paid the fine.
I understand Peterson’s position, but the concept that what he did was illegal is completely unsupportable, legally and logically. Back in 2005, a similar situation happened in Florida. The one difference was that the open wireless signal was operating out of a man’s home, not a coffee shop offering the signal as a value-added service. At the time, I wrote this about the topic:
The owner of this network knew full well that his wireless access point was operating “openly”, knew what he needed to do to fix it, and made a conscious decision to not do it. So, there he is, broadcasting a radio signal on a publicly-available frequency at a power and direction guaranteed to extend beyond his property lines, having done nothing whatsoever to secure access to it, and he’s calling the cops on someone for making use of it. Perhaps a more familiar metaphor would help clarify this issue. Imagine for a moment that Mr. Dinon has cable television. He likes to watch his TV outside because the weather is so lovely in Florida and sets up a televison in his driveway with the screen facing the street. He turns the TV on and sets it to a local station. For some reason, when he decides to go back inside, he leaves the TV running. All day, every day. Now imagine someone else – we don’t know who – pulls up in his car and parks on the street in front of Mr. Dinon’s house in such a position that he can see the TV. He starts watching. Mr. Dinon and Special Agent Breeden want you to accept their assertion that this imaginary situation represents a man stealing something.
The situation in Michigan is even less a matter of stealing anything. As an open-to-the-public business, the coffee shop has even less of an expectation of privacy than the man in Florida. To be clear, the owner of the coffee shop was not the one to call the cops and didn’t want charges filed. The person who called the police – the owner of a nearby hair salon – called the cops on Petersen because one of his employees was being stalked and he wanted the cops to confirm Peterson wasn’t the stalker.
Just as the Michigan prosecutor couldn’t make a case of “illegally accessing” the TV channel in our example above, he can’t make the case of illegal access on the coffee shop’s access point. There’s no intent to make the system unavailable to the public so how can it be illegal for the public to access it?
I understand Peterson’s fear of challenging this but his knuckling under to what is clearly prosecutorial abuse will do nothing but get him more of the same. That or he gets to live his life in fear of accessing any advanced information services for the rest of his life without written permission from the system administrator. It’s a shame that the prosecutor is going to get away with this, that’s all.
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, a story in the Washington Times this morning is proving very interesting. A series of incidents on a Northwest Airlines flight in June, 2004, is being reported as a terrorist “dry-run” in a report from the Office of the Inspector General.
This story is getting a lot of commentary in the blogosphere and, if you’ve never heard of the event before now, you can thank the MSM for not pursuing it and certain federal agencies for (it now seems) covering it up. I was going to write this up myself but I find I can’t do better than what’s up over at places like Michelle Malkin’s, Captain’s Quarters, and Power Line. You owe it to yourself to go read what’s there. Eternal vigilance, remember…
Ooookay. What are you guys doing? Trying to fire up the Cold War again?
FoxNews.com has a report up this morning that says University of Colorado President Hank Brown is recommending that fraudulent plagiarist Ward Churchill be fired from the University. Brown has apparently made the recommendation in a letter sent to the chair of the committee that handles matters of tenure.
If this sounds like deja vu that’s because it was almost a year ago (June 26, 2006, to be exact) that I wrote about the University’s Chancellor making exactly the same recommendation. Perhaps this time the committee will actually do something about it and lance the boil on academia’s butt that is Ward Churchill.
Churchill, of course, is threatening lawsuit. I hope he’s daft enough to do it, too, so we can all get to see the plagiarism and the fraud he’s engaged in to get the cushy little position he’s got.
Churchill said Monday the university process was biased against him and that he believes he will get a fairer hearing in the courts.
“I’ve got more faith in almost anything (than in the university process),” he said. “A random group of homeless people under a bridge would be far more intellectually sound and principled than anything I’ve encountered at the university so far.”
If I were the least bit convinced that Churchill would know “intellectually sound and principled” if the two concepts came up and bit him on the ass, I might be willing to consider his position. He doesn’t – by a longshot – and I think he’s managed to get far more consideration that most because of his supporters on the left. As I’ve written before, he’s a plagiarist, a liar, and a fraud. If he’s pressing a lawsuit in a court, he’ll still be all those things. Firing him is the proper course for the University and it’s the just course for the rest of us.
The Washington Times has this wonderful story of the men and women of the Dept of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office, or DPMO. These are the folks who track down MIA’s/KIA’s dating back from World War II. On this Memorial Day, they have a story to tell of men who have come home after 60 years:
Cecil, Bill, Tom, Russ, George: The five of them took off aboard a C-47 transport plane during World War II and never came back. The Army Air Force crew had completed their mission Sept. 1, 1944, delivering paratroopers to a drop zone over Holland before the aircraft crashed, with no survivors. The Germans then sabotaged the local waterways and flooded the area, leaving men and plane at the bottom of a watery, anonymous grave more than six decades ago.
But those men and their mission are not forgotten. On May 2, they all came home, thanks to the Department of Defense’s POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), whose motto is “Promise Kept” and whose mission is to recover and repatriate the remains of military troops from five wars.
The scope of their mission is simply staggering. For example, there are still over 78,000 missing military personnel from WWII. There are just over 8,000 missing from the Korean War. After so long as it’s been, it’s amazing that these people still keep in the fight and still hold to their motto, “Promise Kept.” The 5 men in that C-47 Dakota are back here now, received home with full military honors. Here’s hoping they rest easier returned to their homeland and the nation of their children.
Well done, DPMO. Well done indeed.
As we celebrate this Memorial Day in our various ways, please take the time to recall what we’re doing this day. No, this isn’t going to be a finger-wagging session about enjoying yourself. Believe it: the men and women in uniform would love nothing better than to be home in the back yard tipping a cold one back while listening to the sound of something sizzling on the grill. I don’t know of a single one of them who would begrudge you doing the same, so enjoy it!
What I mean is that I’d like everyone to be aware of what has gone into the simple freedom to enjoy that kind of day and to recall that there are still folks out there on the walls of freedom watching on our behalf.
I can’t go the day without linking to stories written by far more talented folks than I. Peter Collier writes about America’s Honor at OpinionJournal and it is well, well worth the time to read.
Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those who had given all their tomorrows, as was said of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, for our todays. But in a world saturated with selfhood, where every death is by definition a death in vain, the notion of sacrifice today provokes puzzlement more often than admiration.
Recapture that sense of pride in American honor. Go read it.
Jules Crittenden has the Memorial Day Roundup. Lots of good stuff there.
Finally, Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit has good news for this Memorial Day: according to a number of sources the “surge” is apparently working wonders over in Iraq. Anbar province is a very different place today than it was just 4-5 months ago. Some of the members of our society don’t appear happy with that fact and he wonders why that is. (Same here, sir.)
To all of you veterans, please accept the salute and thanks from my family. We appreciate what you do and we remain aware of what we owe you. Be safe this day and, if you’re far from home, may you return soon and in victory.
I wonder when Cindy Sheehan and Harry Belafonte will be heading down to appear on the official, state-run TV station in Hugo Chavez’s new utopia. Chavez has seen to it that they won’t be appearing on the opposition channel:
Venezuela’s oldest private television station went off the air just before midnight Sunday as thousands banged on pots and pans in protest against President Hugo Chavez’s decision not to renew the license of the opposition-aligned channel.
Fireworks exploded across Caracas as crowds of Chavez’s supporters celebrated the expiration of Radio Caracas Television’s license and the birth of a new public service station.
The studios of RCTV — the sole opposition-aligned TV station with nationwide reach — were filled with teary-eyed people who applauded, embraced and shouted “freedom!” in the final minutes on the air.
They bowed their heads in prayer, and a presenter declared: “Long live Venezuela! We will return soon.” Then the national anthem was played and the screen turned black. Within seconds, it was replaced with the insignia of TVES, the new state-funded channel assigned to the frequency.
I’d like both Sheehan and Belafonte – and all the other leftist/Hollywood elitists out there – to explain, in detail, how they’d handle the Bush Administration performing the same kind of action here in the US. If the White House issued orders to the FCC to revoke the licenses of TV and radio stations that held forth in opposition to his policies, would they stay silent?
I think not.
I’d love to hear their explanation, but they’re not going to even address this issue. They can’t. To do so would make it look like they’ve made a mistake and if there’s 1 thing these leftists can’t do it’s admit when they’ve made a mistake about their heroes.
Update: Billy Hollis at Q and O has a post up that might explain why I’ve not heard from Cindy Sheehan on her buddy Hugo: she’s been too busy writing her resignation from the anti-war left.
Well, at least as far as being the “face” of it, anyway. You’ll pardon me if I’m not upset.
Sometimes, in blogging, events will move quickly enough that you see a story you want to blog on but then slips your mind the next time you’re at the keyboard. So it was with the story recently that the Veterans Administration approved the pagan pentacle as a symbol to be available on headstones in national cemeteries. Today, as befitting memorial day, a few vets’ gravestones are going to be fitted with that symbol.
The VA now allows about 40 symbols on gravestones from (frankly) a bewildering array of religious faiths. I don’t agree with the comment in the story I’ve linked above that this event represents a vindication for pagans, however, because I don’t concede that the faith needed any such vindication from the US Government. They exist and they believe regardless of what some guy in a DC office does or doesn’t do. I’m all for their putting their symbol on the headstones of their deceased and I’m pleased its being allowed.
This from the AP:
U.S. forces raided an Al Qaeda hide-out northeast of Baghdad on Sunday and freed 42 Iraqis imprisoned inside, including some who had been tortured and suffered broken bones, a senior U.S. military official said Sunday.
The raid was part of a 3-month-old security crackdown that included the deployment of 3,000 more U.S. troops to Diyala, a violent province north of the capital that has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks, said Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq.
Caldwell said Iraqis told U.S. forces about the hide-out: “The people in Diyala are speaking up against Al Qaeda.”
He said the 42 freed Iraqis marked the largest number of captives ever found in a single Al Qaeda prison. Some of those freed were held for as long as four months and some had injuries from torture and were taken to medical facilities for treatment, he said.
Note that these people were on the receiving end of real torture, as opposed to having to eat better food than they normally get or having their Koran flushed down a toilet. (Not that that last one happened, anyway, but you get the idea.)
So, we found a hiding place where they were holding 42 people in various states of injury and were clearly ready to inflict more. This, as I’ve said recently, is the nature of the enemy. Theirs is not a path to be lauded or excused. They’re not taking pity on their own people – people who allegedly share the basics of their faith, their history, their culture. What makes anyone who’s being rational believe they’ll treat us any better?
They won’t, plain and simple. The surge is working. It’s producing results. We’re finding them; Iraqis are turning them in; and AQ is getting desperate enough to start holding large groups like this in 1 place. On this memorial day weekend, take the time to recall the sacrifices of those who have gone before, those being offered now by those deployed, and turn support toward our troops’ victory. They deserve that support and the enemy deserves our contempt.