Consequences for Wi-Fi Thieves

Next time you surf the web, make sure your Internet access is legal – or else you could face some serious fines.

Everyday at lunch, Sam Peterson would park outside a Michigan cafe to check his e-mail.

It is called “piggybacking,” or using someone else’s Wi-Fi without their permission.

After complaints from customers, police finally confronted him.

But once Peterson told officers what he was doing, they let him go.

It was not until they did some investigating that they realized he was breaking the law.

A warrant was requested for his arrest, which was coupled with the potential for felony charges with up to a five year sentence and a $10,000 fine.

Under Michigan law, if you access a computer system without permission, you are committing a crime.

Peterson was only issued a warning, but Sparta police say next time they will not be as forgiving.

In the meantime, police say it is up to Wi-Fi subscribers to protect themselves against piggybackers.

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