School of Law
1045 W. Maple St.
Robert A. Leflar Law Center
Waterman Hall
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Phone: (479) 575-5601

The Law of Computer Trespass: Cyber Security or Virtual Entrapment?

By · October 14, 2007 · 2007 Ark. L. Notes 281
In categories: Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Property Law, Tort Law

Ever use someone else’s wireless Internet connection? After booting up your computer, you see that all-familiar message inviting you to partake of a nearby wireless Internet signal. No password needed: just click the box and you’ll enter the information superhighway. Somewhere nearby, some digital saint is broadcasting a lightning speed connection into the ether, which has conveniently flowed onto your property. The signal is just waiting to be used. It’s fast. It’s free. It’s available. And in Arkansas, it’s illegal. Yes, that’s right: using someone else’s wireless Internet connection without permission is a criminal offense under the Arkansas code. Harmless web surfing on your neighbor’s Wi-Fi connection falls squarely within the reach of Computer Trespass. Checking your email has earned you a misdemeanor. It’s time to amend the code.

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