Smart move or silly warning? That's up for debate: The California Legislature has asked Wi-Fi equipment makers to warn buyers of wireless LAN access points that strangers can tap into a wireless network that isn't password-protected. A bill passed by the state Senate in August and slated to become effective in January would require any wireless access point for homes or small businesses to come with a warning. It could be a sticker or a page in the configuration software, for example, but the buyer must be forced to look at the warning before using the device. At press time, the bill had not reached Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger but was expected to earn his approval.
"There needs to be a level of education and understanding out there about just how easy it is to access one of these systems," says Richard Stapler, spokesman for Assemblyman Fabian NÃºÃ±ez, who introduced the bill.