American fined for poaching wi-fi; could face 5 years' jail time



In Sparta, Michigan, it’s a felony to use someone’s wireless network without their knowledge, no matter how temptingly wide open it might be. So discovered Sam Peterson II, who used to piggyback on the network at the Re-Union Street Café, to check his email on his way to work every day. The town sheriff observed this, checked the law, and duly charged Peterson with “Unauthorized use of computer access”. He’ll pay a $400 fine and do 40 hours community service, but the law allows for fines up to $10,000 and jail time up to 5 years. [GT]

A wireless felony

Gabrielle Taylor
For latest tech stories go to