A ruling handed out earlier this month in The Netherlands set a precedent that will allow the nation’s citizens to “piggyback” on open WiFi networks and to hack into a WiFi connection by hacking the encrypted router.
The ruling is the result of a case in which a Dutch student hacked into a WiFi connection and used the router’s Internet connection to post a message threatening murder of his fellow students on an Internet message board.
It turned out to be a prank, and in the end he was sentenced to 20 hours of community service but was found not guilty of hacking.
PCWorld reports that the law that allowed him receive a pass on those charges dates back to 1993, and is thought by many to be outdated. In it, a computer is defined as a machine that cam store, process and transmit data. Since a router can’t store data, it can’t be considered a computer and, therefore, this law can’t be applied to it.
The Dutch attorney general is obviously of the opinion that the law must be updated, and has decided to lodge in an appeal to the verdict. It can take up to two years for the case to be reviewed by the country’s High Court, but their final decision could modify the law and make it more applicable given the the current state of technology.