Man suspected of child porn simply didn't secure wireless router

A Buffalo, NY man had a rude awakening one morning when federal officers broke down the door to his house, threw him down the stairs and aimed assault weapons at him while yelling, “Pedophile!”  After the investigation was completed, it turned out that it wasn’t this man but rather someone using his unsecured wireless router. According to MSNBC.com, law enforcement officials spent hours combing through the suspect’s computer and other digital devices before simply taking them to a forensics laboratory for further investigation. After a few days, investigators realized that the suspect was telling the truth and that he was not the one downloading child pornography.

It appears that law enforcement followed the proper procedures while carrying out the raid. They tracked down the IP address of the offender, received customer information from the ISP, and then identified the location of the home. However they did not check for an unsecured wireless router ahead of time, nor did they track down other leads before performing the raid. Further investigation led the authorities to the University of Buffalo where they were able to identify two more instances of illegal child pornography downloads linked to the original.  The University was able to provide the name of the token owner, and police made an arrest.

Cases like this highlight the need for securing wireless signals, and it’s good that the technology has been getting easier to use. However there are still many people who like to leave their signal available for others to use, as well as the many open Wi-Fi hotspots available at restaurants and stores. Should it be considered a crime to leave your wireless router open? Do you leave your signal open for others to use?

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