Friday, February 8, 2008

The ethics of signal rustling

A friend was scolding me for using a free signal in the first place, and showing no sympathy for having lost it, not because anyone moved away, but because they finally got wise to it and secured it.

I can rationalize anything, to be sure, but to me it isn't much of an ethical stretch to rationalize the use of a signal my computer picked up without my looking for it, and connected to without asking me. And when I inquired, knowing full well how he would answer, if it was really stealing, he said, "would you take your neighbor's bicycle?"

Fortunately, he added before I could, "I realize that he left it in your living room..."

As I write this now, in a different living room on a different bicycle, I confess that not getting my own internet connection is not the same as not having, say, a microwave or the "good" cable. That's just streamlining. And cheapness. Respectively.

I am perfectly happy to clutter my already limited time by adding the Internet, and can easily afford an acceptable speed. The only reason I have not picked up the phone and pursued any solution to this problem is that I just don't know how to. File it in that folder.

I am on "chat" with Nicholas the phone service boy, who is walking me through my questions by copying paragraphs off his website (which I am also viewing) into an IM window. Occasionally that window grabs text out of this window and when I hit return, I am creating a very disjointed conversation that he is somehow tolerating. I sit very close to text agents in my mill room...and I know what he is saying. In return he repeats himself by pasting, "Good place to check and start for that would be the link I am providing you right now." But I don't give him time to paste; I just hammer him with more questions, like, "Is there any condition that would require a technician to visit my house?"

Part of me feels that when I finally get this figured out, I should float an unsecured wireless signal for a year. It's only fair.


  1. Miss Bender, You've been stealing Internet? Good for you! If you ask me, the people (as in "we the people") should have free and common access to the Internet. The fees from Comcast and Verizon are ridiculous.

  2. And if you can get Verizon, by all means do it while they have their special running. I don't have Verizon high speed where I live so my only choice is comcast. They tend to drop connection on a regular basis - all very frustrating! As for wireless, I never trusted it in the first place just because of folks who would latch on for ulterior motives - surely not your motive!!

  3. Ms. Bender,

    This cannot be compared to stealing a bicycle, since that implies that by using their bandwidth, they would have none for themselves. It's more like attaching your hose to their faucet and using their water to wash your car (if both the hose and faucet were invisible and they left the faucet turned on and posted about it in the neighborhood newsletter).


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