Wireless networks have helped telecommunication organizations and other enterprises avoid the costly installation of cables into buildings to provide the computer network. This has made the network available to many homes in the United States, as well as saving people’s time for physical connection of printers and other devices that can be linked to the home wireless network.
However, this has also made accessing the World Wide Web possible from any point within the router’s ranger and therefore risking having the network used by neighbors. Though much has been done to control such users, such as protecting these networks with passwords, a lot of people find it easy to hack into them and enjoy the free internet while most homes do not even try to protect them.
It is very unethical to enjoy free internet by using your neighbor’s wireless network. This amounts to stealing. It is just like taping their electricity lines or water pipes secretly. Though most wireless connections are priced periodically, meaning that there will be no extra cost incurred due to a stealing neighbor, this does not justify using the network without the owner’s consent (SANS Institute, 2003). Ethically, one should inform the owner of their network’s range and then request to use it.
This way, the owner will be aware of the users and will protect any confidential information on their personal computers from being shared in the network. It will also be fair to strike a deal to cost share the internet charges. This is because it is very selfish for anybody to wait for their neighbor to pay for their internet connection so that they can enjoy it for free.
It is worse when the owner of the connection has to pay extra charges for the other unknown users. Though this is rear, we should have a culture of respecting everything that does not belong to us. We may think that it does not cost the owner any extra penny for us to use their network, but the truth is it affects their internet speed. Having several users on the same network slows its’ speed and this is not fair to the owner.
It makes the owner unable to download all the data he/she may have wanted or spend a lot of time downloading it. This may cause dissatisfaction by the owner in the service provide yet the mistake is the provider. The owner may even seek alternatives and this will force him or her to spend unnecessary to install new wireless network but so long as the network is not secure, the same problem will arise.
Ethics will prevent us from using other people’s properties even when it does not cost them. It is not a big deal to have their consent first and even if they deny us we should respect that. Unfortunately, most people do not just use the wireless network; they hack into it. According to Zelinsky, Reams & Houston (2010), hacking on the other hand is beyond ethics, it is a criminal offence. Such people end up in jail if caught.
Though nobody will sue us for breaking the code of ethics, we should always do unto others what we want them to do unto us. It is not fair for us to use our neighbors’ wireless networks if we do not expect the same from them. An ethical person will first think of the others before doing anything affecting them.
One should also not be fond of free things. We should learn to be independent and if we need anything that belongs to our neighbors’, we can always get their consent first. Consent changes what could have been unethical or wrong to right.
SANS Institute. (2003).How to avoid ethical and legal issues in wireless network discovery. Retrieved on July 15, 2011from http://www.sans.org/reading_room/whitepapers/wireless/avoid-ethical-legal-issues-wireless-network-discovery_176
Zelinsky, N., Reams, D. & Houston, N. (2010). The ethical issues surrounding Wi-Fi. Retrieved on July 15, 2011 from http://www.ethicapublishing.com/ethical/3CH10.pdf