The Feds Don't Need A Warrant To Track You If You're Stealing Internet

hackers computer

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

If you’re stealing your neighbour’s Internet, you might be in for a nasty surprise, thanks to a landmark ruling from a federal court in Pittsburgh.Courts have already ruled you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your IP address or information you give your Internet service providers, but now courts are specifically decreeing you have no right to privacy if you steal someone else’s Internet, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog.

The ruling stemmed from a case in Pittsburgh where police used anti-mooching software called Moocherhunter to track down a man suspected of downloading child pornography.

“An internet subscriber does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his IP address or the information he provides to his Internet Service Provider, such as Comcast, in order to legally establish an internet connection, and likewise, a person connecting to another person’s wireless router does not have an expectation of privacy in that connection,” U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti said of the Pittsburgh case.

But Fourth Amendment expert Orin Kerr told Law Blog the issue was less clear cut. 

Technically you broadcast a signal every time to you connect to a wireless network, but if you aren’t technologically savvy, you might know you’re doing so.

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