back to article Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

Bungling cops in Yorkshire have called upon householders to lock down their Wi-Fi after mistaking a free hotspot user for a piggybacking connection thief. A Reg reader from Heckmondwike claims that a local busybody called the police after seeing him access the internet using BT's Fon service, which allows customers to access …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not wanting to defend plod, but

    BT Fon: no access unless BT (think they) know who you are. Traceability (allegedly) exists.

    Open hotspot: access for anybody, no traceability.

    There is a potentially interesting philosophical discussion to have on the usefulness wrt privacy of having *enough* people offer anonymous free open WiFi. This article ignores that discussion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

      But there's no law that requires traceability, is there?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

        There is...

        http://www.ruralwifihotspots.co.uk/legal-compliance

        And if you as a private individual (not business) offer hotspot access to anyone who passes by, you'd better log connections too given how well the police know their technology - see example in this story.

        Although FON does log everything, my dad wanted it turned off just for this very reason.

        1. localzuk

          Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

          The page you link to is for "commercial entities" not private individuals. A private individual can offer their home connection to whoever they darn well want without having to log anything. They might be breaching their terms and conditions of use with their ISP but it isn't a criminal matter.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

            Yes, but you'd need to prove to the police that it's not you if the shit hits the fan.

            1. bigtimehustler

              Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

              No actually, in court the police and CPS would have to prove it was you, which would be impossible.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                While the police and CPS have to prove it was you, you still have the inconvenience of the police conducting their investigation.

                You'll get your computers, tablets, laptops etc back eventually....

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: You'll get your computers, tablets, laptops etc back eventually.

                  And ?

                  Particularly on an IT forum, the idea that a hardware failure - albeit deliberately and artificially implemented - would cause anyone more than an hours inconvenience seems a little quaint.

                  A VM image in the cloud, plus data in the cloud means all I have to do is get hold of a decent Linux box, and reconnect to the internet.

                2. Blitheringeejit

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  >You'll get your computers, tablets, laptops etc back eventually....

                  And (depending on the nature of the investigation) your children.

                  But they won't pay for a new front door.

                  1. TwistUrCapBack

                    Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                    "But they wont pay for a new front door."

                    Yes they most certainly will

                    providing no proof of a crime by yourself was found of course.

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  Along with the 6am dawn raid with the screaming sirens, the helpful off-the-record interviews with the local press and neighbours that reveal you to be a suspected pedophile, complying with police bail requirements (hope you didn't plan on going abroad on holiday any time soon) and the grudging admission a year later that there was 'insufficient evidence to prosecute you' which as we all know, just means you were able to hide your tracks.

                  And don't expect any compensation for that door we were forced to smash open, you filthy pervert.

                4. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  "You'll get your computers, tablets, laptops etc back eventually...."

                  Really? Because I know some folk who are damned well innocent who've not gotten their stuff back after two years. Besides, the way laws are structured it's virtually impossible for any of us to be innocent of everything. Our lives are on those machines. Search them hard enough, you'll find something to jail them for, even if it's not what was on the original search warrant.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re @Trevor_pott

                    "Our lives are on those machines. Search them hard enough, you'll find something to jail them for"

                    If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

                    "even if it's not what was on the original search warrant."

                    That's another reason why I prefer the US system, if the alleged crime isn't on the warrant, you do not get to include it on the charge sheet!

                    They may seize objects not specified in the warrant only if they are in plain view during the course of the search. So keep your drugs out of the way if they're looking for PC gear for example.

                    But in the UK, they can do what the hell they like.

                    It speaks volumes of how much trust the UK sheeple place in the law.

                5. AlbertH

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  I had plod take away several computers. most returned damaged in one way or another (they'd frequently tried to remove the hard drives with the wrong screwdrivers). I sued and won. I now own several very high specification machines paid for by the clueless Metropolitan Police. The two "defectives" who insisted that the machines "had to be impounded" are no longer employed by plod.

                  The stupid plods assumed that any computer that required a password for access must be harbouring something illicit. When they were granted access to a guest account on the machines, they couldn't understand that there was no "Word" or "Internet Explorer". They didn't understand that they were Linux (Mint) desktop machines. They had this gently explained to them, but decided that "Linux is only used by hackers" and the computers had to be impounded.

                  The fundamentally stupid thought processes of these two clowns were breathtaking. They also felt the need to arrest all the registered users of the machines for unspecified "cybercrimes" - obviously something they'd read about in the "Sun"......

                6. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  'You'll get your computers, tablets, laptops etc back eventually....'

                  And they might even work...

                7. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  "You'll get your computers, tablets, laptops etc back eventually...."

                  Should that unfortunately happen - then it would be wise to check any PSU mains voltage settings on the returned equipment. Accidents happen - and your PSU settings might return at 110v rather than 240v.

                  1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                    Re: Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                    This sounds like advice borne of experience...

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                      > This sounds like advice borne of experience...

                      He doesn't say from which side of the field though. :-b

              2. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                I know those laws don't apply to you if you're an individual and the burden of proof is on them but I really wouldn't like to chance it if it were the local Jimmy Saville who decided to use your open hotspot provided to everyone out of a sense of community spirit, altruism, etc...

                So you either log connections to the same standard or you don't offer an open hotspot. Even if you do provide a hotspot which logs everything (e.g. FON) the police have demonstrated time and again that technology confuses them.

                1. DrXym Silver badge

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  "So you either log connections to the same standard or you don't offer an open hotspot. Even if you do provide a hotspot which logs everything (e.g. FON) the police have demonstrated time and again that technology confuses them."

                  I very much doubt that you as a householder would be on the hook if someone did something malicious on it.

                  Any complaint would come through BT and BT would know from the logs that it was someone piggybacking from your public wifi spot. They'd also know who that person was according to the login details.

                  So while plod might come around to ask if you saw someone doing a four fingered shuffle in your garden, you yourself would not be under suspicion of any crime.

                  1. Jim 59

                    Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                    Interesting discussion above about the traceability BT Fon connections. A stranger connecting to your BT router gets a separate channel and an internal IP on a separate range (default 10.x.x.x). However I am guessing they get the same internet facing IP. Can't test it just at the moment tho.

                    As others have said, an investigation would be brutal for you, even if found innocent. The loss of all IT kit, for months, stigma, job worries, stress. A chap who went through it himself wrote a Reg article a couple of months ago. He was found innocent, but the experience was not pretty.

                    1. James R Grinter

                      Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                      You get a separate public IP address, in a range allocated to BT WiFi (BT OpenZone), from the household users of the BT Broadband connection.

                    2. heyrick Silver badge

                      Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                      "However I am guessing they get the same internet facing IP. Can't test it just at the moment tho."

                      Orange France has a public WiFi network running on the back of home internet connections, using APs called "orange" instead of the usual "Livebox-XXXX" (last four digits of Mac). You need to log in using your credentials - orange email name and password IIRC. It is done in the manner that if you offer a public access point, you have the right to use other public access points, but if you turn off the public AP, you lose the right. As I live in the back of beyond and you can barely get access through the stone walls, it doesn't bother me to leave it switched on.

                      Aaaanyway, I did some tests and the public AP gives you a completely different public IP address from the private one. I didn't bother testing QoS as my downstream is only 2mbit so it doesn't take much to knock that on the head. I might try it sometime and see how the Livebox allocates bandwidth if only the public AP is running, and if the private one then starts a download...

                    3. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                      > As others have said, an investigation would be brutal for you, even if found innocent.

                      Correct. But one should not give in to intimidation and veiled threats from those under colour of authority. Showing any sign of fear or hesitation is the worst possible course of action.

                      Repeated first hand experience on this. I'm still here, so far. :)

                  2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                    Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                    "So while plod might come around to ask if you saw someone doing a four fingered shuffle in your garden, you yourself would not be under suspicion of any crime."

                    They'd find a crime to suit, or just make one up. You used the internet. You're a terrorist and a pedophile.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  Dan, I respectfully suggest you may want to stop offering such incredibly stupid advice.

                  > So you either log connections to the same standard or you don't offer an open hotspot.

                  a) I'm not a fucking snitch.

                  If I happen to catch someone doing something seriously harmful I'll intervene, but I won't be sacrificing the well deserved trust I put on my fellow citizens for the sake of a few bad apples.

                  b) Log the stuff and find yourself in violation of privacy laws.

                  It can be done, but you need some professional guidance on how to make it probably legal (in law there is no truth/false, but mere probabilities bit like in quantum physics). Else it's you who ends up getting in trouble.

              3. AndrewDu

                Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                Hmm.

                I think they would just point out that it WAS your IP address, was it not, that was used to download the kiddie porn?

                Case closed. The fine's in the post and your name's in the Sunday Papers.

                1. localzuk

                  Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                  @AndrewDu - and all you'd need is a witness called who explains how IP addresses work, how wireless networks and shared or public networks work and you've now got reasonable doubt that you are matched up to that IP address.

                  1. AndrewDu

                    Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                    Erm, no. The ISP will have details from its dhcp logs, and indeed if you don't reboot your router much (and who does) likely it will still have the same IP. It's the public IP that will show up for the downloads, regardless what's going on with the private side of your setup. It's you, and you won't be able to deny it. Even though WE all know that *probably* it wasn't.

              4. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                "No actually, in court the police and CPS would have to prove it was you, which would be impossible."

                Since when? The US and UK moved to "guilty until proven more guilty" ages ago. When it comes to the internet, presumption of innocence was ejected. It's not going to be returning.

              5. Flywheel Silver badge

                Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                If you look at how various Plods up and down the country interpret the legality of use of a camera in public places then you should be worried about proof: http://photographernotaterrorist.org/

            2. Infury8r

              Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

              "Yes, but you'd need to prove to the police that it's not you if the shit hits the fan."

              On the contrary, it's up to the police to prove it WAS you, if the shit hits the fan.

              1. scrubber
                Black Helicopters

                Re: On the contrary, it's up to the police to prove it WAS you, if the shit hits the fan.

                It's up to the CPS to do the proving. However, the cops do the investigation and charging and leaking to the press which means you have the inconvenience of having your IT equipment taken away to be forensically investigated, the hassle of going to court, getting a lawyer, being banged up for a few hours, lots of questioning and then named in the paper as an internet kid-flik watcher - before being proven innocent in court.

                And all that's before they bang you up for the bit of your hard disk with the old TrueCrypt area that you did when trying out TrueCrypt originally and have long ago forgotten the password for. Let alone that ancient USB key that's password protected but you never used more than once because it's more hassle than it's worth. Plus they want the passwords of all your online accounts because, well, children.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

                "On the contrary, it's up to the police to prove it WAS you, if the shit hits the fan"

                The problem is that the process is now the punishment: collar felt, draged down the nick, held for nnn hours (or mmm days "if we fink it's a serious crime or terrorizum..."), all computer equipment impounded - and we all know there's no smoke without fire = arrested = pedo = guilty...

                Such is now "freedom" in Blighty, where some crimes are so serious that lack of evidence or inocence is no excuse.

              3. despairing citizen

                Re: On the contrary, it's up to the police to prove it WAS you, if the shit hits the fan.

                paying for the solictor to argue this point with the police, will cost more than your computer.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: On the contrary, it's up to the police to prove it WAS you, if the shit hits the fan.

                  > paying for the solictor to argue this point with the police, will cost more than your computer.

                  Depends on whether you factor in the cost of letting the society you live in become that little bit more oppressive due to your not standing up for it when you had the opportunity.

                  I have paid that solicitor. After a while, word somehow spreads and they learn to live you alone. In addition, they will be more careful when trying to go all bully on someone else. To me that's a lot more than my money is worth.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

              > Yes, but you'd need to prove to the police that it's not you if the shit hits the fan.

              Dan, it does not work like that at all. Your accuser (CPS or whoever) need to prove in court, to a level consistent with the type of proceedings you're involved in, amongst other factors, that it was indeed you, and not somebody else who did whatever it is they're alleging you did. On anything involving internet access or computer use in general, this is notoriously difficult.

              This information brought to you by someone trained in computer forensics and unpopular enough with the police and courts of a handful of countries to have first experience of how things work.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

            https://www.btfon.com/images/media/en/en_general_conditions.pdf

            if you are under 6.2 of this "agreement", you receive a "revenue share".

            Thats services in exchange for renumeration, you just became a business. (Sole Trader), no insurance, wanted by HMRC, unless you declare this income on your tax return.

            You also probably busted many other peices of legislation on commercial broadcast, planning regs, etc.

            PS

            and you're now an ISP, hope you've got the logs

        2. Warm Braw Silver badge

          Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

          I'm not quite sure whether things have changed since the recent "emergency" legislation, but it was certainly not the case until recently that you are obliged to log connections or retain any logs.

          You only* need to do so if you are instructed to do so and, so far, the instructions have gone mainly to the large ISPs:

          http://www.aa.net.uk/kb-other-data-retention.html

          *I use the word "only" advisedly....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

            Did you mean "You need to do so only..." as the way you have written it means "you" are the only one affected?

        3. John Sturdy
          Big Brother

          Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

          They say "protecting privacy rights of hotspot users while making their usage of your Hotspot fully traceable", which suggests they have no more clue than the cops.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

      I'm more tempted to offer open, now that the firmware for my AP allows bandwidth restrictions for the guest AP SSID.

    3. Steven Jones

      Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

      There's no "alleged tracability". If you connect via FON, you arrive on the Internet via a completely public IP address using logon credentials. The traffic is just as traceable as that for any traffic coming from a device connected to your home network. Indeed, more so as there are not credentials passed from devices on your home network to the ISP (unless there's a back-door in the router which logs MAC addresses and sends them to the ISP).

      Of course, somebody could always steal your details, but that is true of any public network where you logon with a userid and password. Indeed, it's true of somebody who gains access to your home network logon details (how many people freely give their WiFi passwords to friends and family to put in their phones and other devices; how secure are those?). The only systems which are really proof against stolen details are where one time password devices are required.

      This is plod knowing a little and thinking he's somehow qualified to lecture the world. If he wants a security problem to worry about, then it's about accessing public networks at all. It would be pretty easy to mimic a BT FON connection.

  2. MrXavia

    I have to defend the police here...

    Sure the police can be pedantic, power abusing thugs, but not always..

    In this instance, they were right to send out the letter...

    It is very likely the 'busybody' only told the police that he saw a man using someone else's wifi, not that he was using FON.

    So, with that info, a blanked letter to ensure people secure their hotspots is sensible, and good advice!

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: I have to defend the police here...

      A guy in the pub last night told me about a friend who's neighbour saw what looked like a naked child running around MrXavia's house. I am sure a quick call to the local plod should sort that out.

      What do you think Mr Xavia...

      Sorry about the tone but the police should react on fact not on speculation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: I have to defend the police here...

        >Sorry about the tone but the police should react on fact not on speculation

        And until they've been round to Mr. Xavia's house to investigate HTH do you expect them to know whether your scenario is fact or not.

        You are effectively saying that the police should not respond to anything. How would you feel if your neighbour phoned the police to report that someone was in your house while he knew you to be on holiday and they asked them to prove it before they went round?

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: I have to defend the police here...

          @Chris W

          No, I am not saying that they should not respond to anything, I am saying they that should have gathered some facts before reacting.

          They sent out letters without first establishing if there was indeed a case... Why was no-one intially sent out to determine what ALL the facts were ?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I have to defend the police here...

            >Why was no-one intially sent out to determine what ALL the facts were?

            And who are they going to ask? The anonymous El Reg informant here only speculates that he was the person who was complained about and probably wouldn't be around to question by the time the complaint had been processed.

            1. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: I have to defend the police here...

              @Chris

              Then if the police have absolutely nothing to go on and the case is so insignificant why did they bother doing anything at all. What was the point of the letter then? Was it just to satisfy the community needs....pull the other one.

              @lamont

              >Is the police sending round a polite note reminding everyone to secure their WiFi really comparable with you attempting to grass up your neighbour as a sex offender?

              Is this what you consider the Police should spend there day doing, sending polite letters reminding people to secuire their Wifi connections. Maybe in Noddy Land that sounds like a great idea but here in the real world I can think of far better ways of spending tax payers money.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I have to defend the police here...

                The police response was correct, whether you like it or not. They are not going to immediately send round an armed rapid response team on a tip-off of piggy backing. They had a tip-off and the letter to residents was an appropriate response in the face of possible criminal activity going on in their neighbourhood.

                1. Khaptain Silver badge

                  Re: I have to defend the police here...

                  But there was no criminal activity !!! And they didn't take any measures to establish if there was or not......

                2. JohnG Silver badge

                  Re: I have to defend the police here...

                  "The police response was correct, whether you like it or not."

                  I disagree - I think the letter was a waste of time and money.

                  "They are not going to immediately send round an armed rapid response team on a tip-off of piggy backing."

                  Who suggested that? You're exaggerating.

                  " They had a tip-off and the letter to residents was an appropriate response in the face of possible criminal activity going on in their neighbourhood."

                  If the police didn't see the point in gathering any facts or pursuing an investigation, they should have simply recorded the incident and left it at that. They didn't have enough information to warrant sending out their network security letter and it appears, they didn't have anyone suitably qualified or experienced to offer such advice.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I have to defend the police here...

                    >Who suggested that? You're exaggerating.

                    Khaptain seems to think they could have gone round to investigate the tip off, other than such a response our fearful el reg surfer would be far gone by the time a normal police officer had got round there.

                    1. Khaptain Silver badge

                      Re: I have to defend the police here...

                      No, Khaptain suggested that they should have established a few more facts before doing anything or alternatively they should have done nothing at all.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: I have to defend the police here...

                        Instead of telling us what hey should have done tell us how they should have done it. How exactly were the police to have established more facts?

                        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                          Re: I have to defend the police here...

                          Find out the type of APs at the location which they could surely have done when chatting to the busybody? (open = letter, FON or similar = no letter)

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: I have to defend the police here...

                            But we've established that the alleged busybody is a flag of St. George waving neanderthal and possibly a dailymail reader so I doubt you'll get any sound technical information from him.

                            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                              Re: I have to defend the police here...

                              I don't mean ask the Neanderthal for a list of APs, I mean as their job will surely entail talking to him, one of them could also get a list of APs in the area with their phone to find out exactly which innocent network the alleged tablet-wielding ne'er-do-well was supposed to have assaulted.

                        2. Khaptain Silver badge

                          Re: I have to defend the police here...

                          >Instead of telling us what hey should have done tell us how they should have done it. How exactly were the police to have established more facts?

                          I am not a policeman so i do not know their standard procedures but I would hazard a guess at the following possibilites for fact finding

                          * Maybe a quick call to the local ISPs/Telcos to determine if any unusal activity had been recorded recently.. 10 minute call at most.

                          * Checking their own database for recent calls of the same nature, thereby establishing the possibility of a neighbourhood (local) hacker/hacker group. 10 minutes if you take your time

                          * Verifying if the neighbourhood uses the FON network or not.. ( Hint this one is quite important). The ISP or Telco could easilly have provided this information. 10 mins again if you take your time

                          Total 30 mins at most, including the tea-break and google search for local ISP/Telco number

                          None of the above require any technical capacity other than being able to type or use a phone, which I believe that most of the police are capable of doing. It would at least have provided a basis upon which they could have made the decision to continue or not with a more thourough investigation.

                          But no, instead some clever bugger decided to type up a nice letter......which probably took 1/2 day + the added cost of paper, envelopes, printers, ink etc... and all to achieve nothing.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: I have to defend the police here...

                            >Maybe a quick call to the local ISPs/Telcos to determine if any unusal activity had been recorded recently.. 10 minute call at most.

                            There's just no response to that. I'd ask if your head hurts but it's probably in a permanent state of numbrness.

                            1. Khaptain Silver badge

                              Re: I have to defend the police here...

                              Please elucidate on your apparant incapacity to understand the suggestion.

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: I have to defend the police here...

                                Khaptain. Just call an ISP, tell them you're the duty officer at your local nick and you'd like them to do such and such. Start now, I'm timing you. Let us know when you've got the information you've asked for.

                                1. Khaptain Silver badge

                                  Re: I have to defend the police here...

                                  @ChrisW.

                                  I presume that you work in a professional capacity, I also presume that you know when making a professional to professional call things can be done far more efficiently than they are for public to professional.

                                  not to difficult to imagine the conversation as follows :

                                  Good morning, this is Sgt Peters from <such and such> constabulary, I have reason to believe that there has been criminal activity in <such and such> neighbourhood and I need to talk immediately to your reponsable for security, please pass me through immediately. Even if they dont pass the SGT through they will at least provide a direct number. Whether it be 10 mins or more is irrelevant, what is important is that they do have methods by which they can establish facts.

                                  @Phil _ You are correct I am not in the UK, if there are only 2 ISPS then it makes checking for unusual activity even easier.

                                  1. Phil W

                                    Re: I have to defend the police here...

                                    Khaptain

                                    Your ideas are totally unworkable I'm afraid.

                                    Due to privacy and confidentiality laws an ISP, in this country at least, would not or should not provide the police with information about the type of activity coming from your connection without a warrant/court order. Plus given what I pointed out previously about the number of ISPs, the police wouldn't be able to get warrants for that information because they wouldn't know which ISPs to get warrants issued to.

                                    Unfortunately the police won't know how many ISPs there are they need to contact, the only way to find out would be for BT to tell them which properties lines are routed to which ISP, which they won't do without a warrant (assuming they could even do it without getting an engineer to check locally, which knowing BT is unlikely).

                                    That's an awful lot of work and expense to simply check if there happens to have been any suspicious network activity. Assuming they could even get a warrant issued in the first place, which I would think unlikely without some decent cause beyond a nosey neighbour's speculation.

                                  2. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: I have to defend the police here...

                                    >I have reason to believe

                                    No wonder your brain's rotted, you've been watching too much TV. The ISPs response will be to tell you to sod off and get a court order. They won't know you from Jack S.... professional or otherwise. Your estimated ten minutes for all ISPs were up long ago and you've got nowhere.

                                  3. jonathanb Silver badge

                                    Re: I have to defend the police here...

                                    No, everyone who has a BT line has a choice of lots of different ISPs. There may be a choice of two different lines from the street cabinet to the local exchange, one copper and one fibre, and after that it goes in lots of different directions.

                            2. Phil W

                              Re: I have to defend the police here...

                              Khaptain, not sure if you're in the UK or not? If not ignorance is an excuse I suppose.

                              With the exception of the town of Kingston, there really is no such thing as a "local" ISP in the UK. Your options are Cable from Virgin Media in areas they operate, or ADSL/FTTC from any number of other ISPs. BT operate pretty much all of the last mile infrastructure for ADSL/FTTC sure, but it is then wholesaled off to countless other ISPs, literally dozens, who all operate nationwide.

                              Perhaps all the people in that street are with 1 or 2 ISPs, but it's equally possible that every single house is with a different provider.

                              Also as for your point of checking if the locals use the Fon network, that makes no sense. The whole point of Fon is that you can legitmately piggy back on someone's home broadband connection when you're not near your home.

                            3. Otto is a bear.

                              Re: I have to defend the police here...

                              I just love the concept of a quick call to your local ISP, has that ever been possible.

                          2. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: I have to defend the police here...

                            > * Maybe a quick call to the local ISPs/Telcos to determine if any unusal activity had been recorded recently.. 10 minute call at most.

                            BT, Virgin Media, Sky, PlusNet, TalkTalk - and thats just the top 5. Do you seriously believe that it would only take a 10 minute call? Try a couple of hours at least just to find somebody within the organisation who might be able the get the last weeks worth of traffic data and analyse it. Even then what would you define as suspicious activity? Accessing tor network? Browsing the internet? Downloading porn? Apart from all that most ISPs will simply say fuck off and come back with a warrant.

                            > * Checking their own database for recent calls of the same nature, thereby establishing the possibility of a neighbourhood (local) hacker/hacker group. 10 minutes if you take your time

                            Using somebodies unsecured network is about as close as you can get to an undetectable (by the householder) crime. The very fact that they have it unsecured means they are technically clueless so there would be very little chance of the householder detecting it. The police are therefore unlikely to get any reports of this nature.

                            * Verifying if the neighbourhood uses the FON network or not.. ( Hint this one is quite important). The ISP or Telco could easilly have provided this information. 10 mins again if you take your time

                            This would tell them what? That nobody ever illegally uses an unsecured network when there is a FON network? I guess that since there is a FON network in my neighbourhood there is no need for me to secure my Wi-Fi because no hacker will ever connect to it now.

                            > Total 30 mins at most, including the tea-break and google search for local ISP/Telco number

                            The ISP calls would take days, they probably did check their own database, and the presence or lack of it of FON is irrelevant.

                            > But no, instead some clever bugger decided to type up a nice letter......which probably took 1/2 day + the added cost of paper, envelopes, printers, ink etc... and all to achieve nothing.

                            Whether the threat was real or perceived, the letter contained useful advice to the community.

                            A final point. You seem to be assuming, like the reg reader, that the Police are working solely from the complaint arising from the reg readers use of a hot spot. How do you know they have not had other complaints or found other evidence?

                          3. Lamont Cranston

                            @Khaptain

                            Typing out a quick letter to remind the general public of a good, basic, network security, in all likelihood did not take in excess of 30 minutes, and the reprographics/mailing costs were probably minimal.

                            The force most likely know that they aren't going to be able to arrest anyone for the alleged wifi theft (if it even counts as theft), and the public interest is best served by them making a minimal effort to encourage best practice amongst the populace (which, in turn, reduces the likelihood of them receiving more such complaints).

                            At what point are you going to berate them for "not being out catching REAL criminals"?

                        3. Stoneshop Silver badge
                          Holmes

                          Re: I have to defend the police here...

                          How exactly were the police to have established more facts?

                          By establishing whether the matter reported was something that required taking action on in the first place.

                          To which the answer is a resounding no.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: I have to defend the police here...

                            @Chris et al

                            Do the local bobbies also send little cards reminding everyone to do their car maintenance, to turn of the gas when they go on holiday and advent calandars to remind that xmas is about to arrive. No, I thought not, why, because it's not their bloody job.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: I have to defend the police here...

                              > Do the local bobbies also send little cards reminding everyone to do their car maintenance,

                              I have received, hand delivered, a letter from the police reminding me to check my car was locked as there had been reports of thefts from unlocked cars in the area. I have also received a letter reminding me to lock my front door as somebody had reported an intruder who walked in through an unlocked door (and promptly ran off when the householder confronted him). Any time there is an increase in a particular type of crime in my area the police inform us about it with recommendations on how to prevent it.

                              It is called crime prevention and it is also part of the police's job. It is better that they prevent the opportunistic crime, whether it is theft from cars , houses or WiFi than have to prosecute somebody for committing it.

                              Oh, and for the record, I do not live in a little village at the edge of nowhere were there is hardly any crime, I live in Liverpool.

                            2. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: I have to defend the police here... @AC

                              >@Chris et al

                              You're obviously stupid but not stupid enough to give your name.

                              No they don't, for the same reason they don't send you reminders not to tie your shoe laces(*) too tight, those activities are not illegal.

                              (*)Shoe laces - Stringy things some people use for securing their shoes, not to be confused with velcro.

                      2. Phil W

                        Re: I have to defend the police here...

                        Policing is like disciplining a class of children sometimes. Especially when it comes to areas some people are not well educated in such as technology.

                        Child A says that he saw Child B with a sweet that belonged to Child C, Child C has not complained and is not aware of any problem. Child A doesn't actually know who Child B is or where he is now.

                        Do you:

                        A: Do Nothing.

                        B: Interrogate Child A and Child C, and any other children in the class to try and establish what happened and who Child B is.

                        C: B + search everyone for sweet wrappers to see who did it.

                        D: Decide that there appears to be no evidence that anything was actually taken, and the supposed victim has not complained, so just remind everyone to take care of their things and that stealing is wrong.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I have to defend the police here...

            > They sent out letters without first establishing if there was indeed a case

            The only thing they had to work on was the busybodies information. More than likely the busybody embellished both what he had seen and what he had been told. How should the police determine that the reg reader was using BT Fon? They don't know him and probably only have some vague description of him.

      2. Lamont Cranston
        FAIL

        @Khaptain

        Is the police sending round a polite note reminding everyone to secure their WiFi really comparable with you attempting to grass up your neighbour as a sex offender?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I have to defend the police here...

        > Sorry about the tone but the police should react on fact not on speculation.

        Actually the police are required to act on speculation. Very little of what is brought to their attention is fact.

        In your above example the police would have to determine the age of the naked child (anything from 0 to 14) and under what circumstances the neighbour saw the naked child. Was it a naked 2 year glimpsed through the window being chased around the living room or was it a 10 year performing a pole dancing routine for the fathers drunken mates? The police have a duty care to investigate.

        Just the other day, a mother phoned the police claiming a man had tried to abduct her child from the garden. This was not fact, it was speculation. The police, rightly, sent every available resource to the area, immediately began an investigation and alerted the media with a description in case he tried it again. It turns out the child escaped from the garden and a male neighbour stopped her running into the road and brought the child back to the mother. Should the police have waited until they had the facts instead of just the speculation?

        1. Robin Bradshaw

          Re: I have to defend the police here...

          @condiment and the moral of that story is the good Samaritan would have been better off if he had walked on by and let the kid get run over, its a wonderful society were building isn't it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I have to defend the police here...

          And the mother was hopefully cautioned for wasting police time? Or received words of advice about how fucking stupid she is making up a story that the guy 'lifted her over the fence and tried to walk off with her' and 'when challenged by the girl's mother he made off.'

          Luckily the CCTV and witnesses exonerated the poor guy before he had his life utterly ruined with an arrest record for child abduction. Good luck getting any job that involves working with kids with that popping up on your enhanced CRB...

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I have to defend the police here...

        "I am sure a quick call to the local plod should sort that out."

        Yes it would, there are Peeping Tom laws in this country.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have to defend the police here...

      You have to question why said "busybody" complained to the police, rather than telling the owner of the BT Fon-enabled wifi router. Also, you'd have thought that the police put their best, tech-savvy person on the case, you know, to check for 'facts' before blanket lettering the whole community with misinformation. If they did or didn't, in this particular case, you have to question ability of the police to deal with this, the most simple of tech issues...

      I really hope to read that "busybody" has been retrospectively "advised under caution" about the situation, how it was actually quite legitimate use and to be much more careful about who they raise the concern to, in the first instance.

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        Re: I have to defend the police here...

        "You have to question why said "busybody" complained to the police,"

        Easy -- 'cos it's a Kipper who sees terrorists and muggers and thugs peeking out behind flowerpots.

        Personally, I'd pay him a visit to see what illegal matertial he has stashed away.

        ( an empty volume of the Thoughts of Nick Griffin?)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I have to defend the police here...

        "you'd have thought that the police put their best, tech-savvy person on the case"

        I've done work for several police forces over the years (in their HQs). In one the head of IT couldn't install a simple program (he just needed to double click the setup icon) on a server...What he WAS good at was ordering very expensive high spec equipment using taxpayers money.

        It was pretty cool to see a Halon Fire Supressor System protecting several racks of top line kit, it was less cool to find out that tax payers had funded it at all it was running was a local citrix server for 6 machines and a datastore for the police HQ (which was actually already handled by an offsite datacenter, so double redundancy).

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: I have to defend the police here...

          In one the head of IT couldn't install a simple program (he just needed to double click the setup icon) on a server...

          * sigh* ...oh dear. You haven't been watching much "IT Crowd", have you...? Oh, you thought it was just a parody? I see...

          1. Purple-Stater

            Re: I have to defend the police here...

            @DropBear

            "* sigh* ...oh dear. You haven't been watching much "IT Crowd", have you...? Oh, you thought it was just a parody? I see..."

            I work in a hotel (just pointing out it's not a tech industry sort of thing). My (age early 60s) manager wanted to know how to move a file in Windows Explorer. Basically, moving pictures that were already saved to the default folder from e-mail to a folder just for screensaver images. She was shown how open Explorer to the point where her downloaded files were displayed on the right side of the screen, and the screensaver folder was on the left side.

            ME: "Okay, now just click on the file you want to move.... No (as the picture gets displayed), you double-clicked. Click the "X" in the top right to close the picture. Okay, now just click once on the picture file and hold the button, then drag it over to the screensaver folder."

            She's been using a PC for well over a decade, but that was only a month ago. Now every time she moves a file she double-clicks it, then closes Windows Photo Viewer, then drag-and-drops the image. Life parodies itself.

          2. damian fell

            Re: I have to defend the police here...

            I think you've misunderstood the purpose of an organisation's IT department, surely in the 21st century after having outsourced and abstracted ourselves away from all management of technology, we are now actully nothing more than informed buyers of "services" on behalf of our various business unit's, we don;t need to know how to install apps on servers, we need to understand how to facilitate the commisioning of services wihtin the risk appetite of our organisation, at an appropriate cost level to meet the value provided by the service. (I'll leave you to decide how much of that statement is tongue in cheek and how much is born of bitter experience).

        2. Otto is a bear.

          Re: I have to defend the police here...

          Sorry, but I don't think the fact an IT manager can't install a programme is unique to the police. I can think of quite a lot of IT company managers who can't either.

    3. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: I have to defend the police here...

      I don't buy your defence. Surely if the police are to be allowed the authority to send out letters about WiFi hotspots they should have someone who is either

      a) aware of the FON service

      b) aware of the Google service.

      I see so many instances of failure of (b) - people stuck at the unconscious incompetence state of knowledge - they know so little that they little know how little they know. Recent example: an MP's claim that the "writing is too small" in Office 365.

      As it is, without a clarification about the FON service, the letter is misleading and a waste of public money - now THAT should be an offence.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        @ John H Woods -- Re: I have to defend the police here...

        Recent example: an MP's claim that the "writing is too small" in Office 365.

        Dammit, John! Yet another keyboard cleanup in aisle 5...

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I have to defend the police here...

      How the did the busybody know what was happening?

      - Phones can be enormous these days.

      - There are tablets that take SIM cards.

      - There are WiMAX tablets.

      - You can connect the tablet to your phone via a bluetooth or wifi connection.

      - You can connect your tablet to a mobile wifi hotspot which runs off a SIM card.

      - Etc...

      The police's response, if they knew their technology, should not have been this.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open WIFi

    For a long time, while my Virgin "Super"hub was still going through its total sh*t phase and losing connection randomly until rebooted, my family often found ourselves connected to a local router. *Mostly* by accident- but sometimes simply because we couldn't be bothered to go upstairs and reboot the hub.. Since I knew that it was not any of the nearest houses' connections I have no idea where it was from. We were sad when it disappeared, even though we hadn't been connected to it for a while.

    We're still very grateful to that person, whoever they might be.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      Re: Open WIFi

      Virgin Medium are appallingly bad. "Two nines" reliability rather than "five nines".

      Their Internet and TV disappeared (from my locality, at least) from 10pm 22-July-2014 to 10am 23-July-2014. So I used Plan B, an account with BT Wifi that enables me to log in to their open servers. I don't know who owns the node I used; and they don't know me because I was indoors at home.

  4. 's water music Silver badge

    untold story

    Well it isn't bad advice. The people pointing and laughing probably aren't the target demographic but if you are IT clueless then it probably makes more sense to configure some level of wifi security than not.

    However, I am trying to imagine the circumstances in which a pikey neighbour would become aware of the nature of the network connection I was using for my tablet.

    Perhaps the informant would care to comment?

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: untold story

      " a pikey neighbour"

      Pikey? Really?

      This is obviously an upstanding citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a defender of all that is Right and Proper. A Commander of Common Sense and Decency.

      He will keep these shores free from all these dastardly Romanians who will shoot our wimmin folk and rape our dogs.

      A twat!

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: untold story

        He will keep these shores free from all these dastardly Romanians who will shoot our wimmin folk and rape our dogs.

        I beg your pardon - we do no such things. Way too busy eating swans, you know.

    2. PsychicMonkey

      Re: untold story

      hmm. Telling people to change their password isn't really telling them how to configure wifi security though is it?

      Even if some wifi was being "stolen", if the owner of the connection hasn't made a complaint then IMHO the police have no reason to act at all.

      1. Hank Waggenburger III

        Re: untold story

        "hmm. Telling people to change their password isn't really telling them how to configure wifi security though is it?"

        No, but I guess the utility of the letter, if any, would arise from prompting the clueless to contact a relative for some more personalised advice.

  5. Ed Marden
    WTF?

    Eh?

    Do not allow anyone connect to your wireless internet connection without your authorisation.

    Eh? I've only had half a coffee so far, but I don't think that makes sense.

    Almost as much sense as the BT Fon spots that don't log in with the standard FON account details.

  6. Brenda McViking

    Since both the justice system and law enforcement have proven themselves completely inept when it comes to technology, I move that neither be able to use any technology in their jobs until they get an el Reg approved internet licence.

    In it should be questions like: Little Jonny downloads a movie. What is he guilty of?

    • a)Piracy
    • b)Copyright infringment
    • c)Theft
    • d)Nothing, yet. he is innocent unless proven guilty
    • e)Terrorism

    and: In terms of connectivity, what does IP stand for?

    • a)Intellectual Property
    • b)Internet Protocol
    • c)Incompetant Policeman
    • d)Illegal Populace
    • e)Terrorism

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      re. What is he guilty of?

      You forgot ....

      f) Collaborative development of a new movie release in conjunction with other children in his media studies class.

    2. James 139

      Obviously its e in both cases, as "terrorism" is the bestest thing since sliced bread as everyone can be arrested for it without warning or proof or legal basis.

      That is, until it gets into the media, the police get embarrassed and have to admit they were wrong and issue a full apology to Jonny, where in next time he does the same thing they dare not do anything incase they either end up in the media again or in the ECHR accused of infringing his "human rights".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "That is, until it gets into the media, the police get embarrassed and have to admit they were wrong and issue a full apology to Jonny, [...]"

        Usually they will use their usual public statement of "insufficient evidence to bring a charge".

    3. Legend4Games

      answers:

      um, e) and e)??

    4. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      All of the above

      obviously.

    5. Phil W

      First question:

      a,b and c because they're all the same thing don't you know.

      Also since movie piracy clearly they're also guilty of e by proxy.

      To to the second question:

      Since the only purpose of the internet is to illegally download films, and arrange terrorist acts it must be a and e.

    6. Soap Distant
      Coffee/keyboard

      @ Brenda McViking

      Superb! New keyboard and monitor req'd please!

    7. heyrick Silver badge
      Coat

      e and e

      Downloading a movie? Economic terrorism. Funding terrorism by dodgy adverts on dodgy sites. And, um, unspecified we'll-think-of-something-later terrorism.

      IP = complicated internet stuff. Using the internet? Well, surely that's some sort of terrorism as well, and if not, we'll just redefine what "terrorism" is.

      Therefore, guilty as hell, burn forever you horrid little terrorist you!

      Mine's the one with the Daily Mail folded and tucked into a large pocket.

  7. Hyphen

    Eh?!

    How on earth would said neighbour know the chap in question was piggybacking off a wifi connection (Fon or otherwise) and not using 3G? Unless said chap was going round telling people that he was using wifi, I don't see how they could have known.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      3G

      Has 3G even reached Yorkshire yet?

      /me ducks

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 3G

        Has 3G even reached Yorkshire yet?

        Yorkshire? Where's that?

        1. Ole Juul Silver badge

          Re: 3G

          The proof is in the pudding.

          1. frank ly Silver badge
            Happy

            @Ole Juul Re: 3G

            There's a joke in there somewhere.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      @hyphen

      Maybe they just have rubbish 3G there.

      1. DPWDC

        "Maybe they just have rubbish 3G there."

        As a resident of Yorkshire:

        I live in the countryside - no 3G, only get a signal from EE (my work phone is O2 - shame ;) )

        I work in a city - rubbish 3G.

        1. 's water music Silver badge
          Trollface

          As a resident of Yorkshire:

          It's true then, what they say about never asking someone if they are a yorkie.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF Do you lot think the police should do?

    If someone reports they thought they saw a pickpocket operating in an area the police will issue a warning. Similarly if there have been a number of incidents of just about anything such as cars being scratched, homes being burgled or whatever.

    Just because this is some chap who reported what he thought to be piggy backing and the police reaction was not to your liking you're all up on your high horses hurling abuse. You might think your technically adept but most of you are just showing how far you've got your head stuck up your backside.

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Re: WTF Do you lot think the police should do?

      Easily the sanest comment in this thread.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: WTF Do you lot think the police should do?

      Ridiculous argument. When you spot a pickpocket, you know you've witnessed a crime. When you spot someone reading El Reg on a tablet, you don't know that you have. Although I'm almost sure there will be some legislation along shortly to correct that ...

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: WTF Do you lot think the police should do?

        Actually, no. What you may be witnessing is some distracting behaviour and a bit of close proximity.

        You may suspect you have seen a pickpocket working. But if they are any good you won't see the "dip".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF Do you lot think the police should do?

      Sometimes the police have no choice, they have to follow up on reports no matter how petty.

      Reminds me of an occasion many years ago in a provincial theatre. The licensing laws rerquired that the bar close at 11pm or 30 minutes after final curtain, whichever came first. A busybody across the street was quick to phone the police if there was visible activity after that.

      One night, gone 11:30pm, the local inspector & a constable showed up at the stage door in response to the predictable complaint. Apologies were given, people asked to drink up, and a few of the locals who knew the inspector said hello, offered him a drink while he waited as they cleared up, then sat down to chat...

      An hour later the phone rang (pre-mobile phone days). "Inspector, it's for you". Sheepish inspector returned to the bar a few minutes later to announce "Constable, we are in the shit.". Seems the busybody had called the station again to report that the police car was still there an hour after it arrived and the lights were still on in the bar

      Local cops aren't all bad :)

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm. Flying a Flag bad?

      Yes.

      In N.I. anyway.

      They should just ban ALL flags there.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm.

      >"obnoxiously flaunts the cross of St George"?

      You need to read between the lines. It would appear that the anon el reg tipster is suggesting his alleged accuser may be a knuckle dragging neanderthal Doc Marten wearing skinhead devoid of the technical finesse of your average El Reg reader.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm.

        Worse than that - he's suggesting he's a daily mail reader.

      2. Irongut

        Re: Hmmm. (Chris W)

        I find your comment insulting to skinheads and wearers of Doctor Marten's boots. None of the people I know who fall into either category are the type of person you are talking about. I usually find its the ones in a casual shirt with a nice short back and sides that are the brain dead violent thugs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmmm. (Chris W)

          Irongut, that is not my personal opinion but the sterotypical image that the el reg tipster was trying to convey. I have been known to don a pair of Doc Martens and while not sporting a completely bald bonce do not usually got for the flowing locks look, in which I include short back and sides. I wish it to be known that the Doc Marten wearing skinheads that I have encountered have tended to be warm, freindly, welcoming people who wouldn't hurt a fly nor say boo to a ghost, and I'm not just saying that because I don't want to get beaten up.

  10. TRT Silver badge

    No-one has so far pointed out...

    that these unencrypted public WiFi hotspots are both Godsend and menace. You see, all a nasty person has to do is set up a hotspot with the same SSID as one of these free public services, and any passing Joe's device is going to connect and spaff all manner of data into the waiting caches of the bad person.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Problem solved

    My open Wi-Fi AP (I'm in the US) links directly to a VPN terminated in the UK. I think I've got that problem sorted ... and I can watch Dr. Who as a bonus.

  12. asiaseen

    Don't bet on it

    "I hope they aren't this incompetent when it comes to stopping people who want to blow us up."

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...people that connect to your network may use it for illegal activities and downloads."

    Scary how obviously out of their depth the police are when it comes tounderstamding almost any form of tech or online activity. Perhaps the more so that they don't seem to realise it, not least as they seem to place so much emphasis on 'online' replacing 'bobby on the beat' as the modern take on visible policing.

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Big Brother

    On the other hand

    This may just be an elaborate scheme by 'them' to discourage people having/using such hotspots, as it's harder to keep tabs on everyone.

  15. hairydog

    Share Internet Access - why not?

    I have a Fon Spot here, being a proper Fon member, not a BT user.

    But that doesn't give access to the network and is only available to Fon or BTFon members.

    So I also have an open access signal. Why?

    For one thing, I don't mind sharing my unlimited, fast broadband. If it helps someone else, why not?

    For another, it is still separate from my network, with no security issues.

    But most importantly, it is helping to undermine the state's ability to track my internet use and that of other people.

    There is no reason not to share. I'm not Margaret Thatcher. And there is no law against it.

  16. Tom Chiverton 1

    "“Sharing a proportion of your wi-fi with Fon is safe and secure as any external usage is sent through a separate channel on your BT Home Hub meaning your activity stays private,"

    So we wont be arresting people who run Tor exit nodes then ? Who wants to be *that* test case...

  17. BigAndos
    Joke

    The real story here is "Shock as user actually manages to access the internet via a BT hotspot". I've been trying for years and mostly either it fails to connect at all or doesn't actually return any data.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Pirate

      More shock

      That's what I did, last week when I was in London. As the hotel's WiFi had the stability of a drunken elephant on roller skates, and glacial speeds during those brief moments it managed some bytes to pass in AND out, I connected to one of the BT-FON networks that were visible, and, after duly logging in, enjoyed a stable and not at all slow connection so that I could indulge in the despicable activity that is reading El Reg

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was quite pleased a few years ago when a new Vodafone Blackberry came with a gig of BT-Fon wifi - an end to my not spot troubles I thought. In the 2 years I had it (admittedly diminishing attempts) I don't think it connected more than twice, and even then the speed was a waste of space.

  18. WaveyDavey

    ChrisW, you're wrong.

    EITHER the police believed there was wrongdoing happening, in which case they should have investigated (and I know some west yorks SOCO people, so I know not *all* members of WYMP are bozos), and figured out Fon existed, OR they believed no wrongdoing occurred, and left well enough alone.

    An ignorant, ill-informed letter at our expense is a complete waste of time and money, and makes the plod looks stupid.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lockdown the post and telephone services

    Shouldn't we also lock down the postal and telephone services, just in case they are used illegally too?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lockdown the post and telephone services

      They are locked down. Try posting a letter without a stamp or making a telephone call without a land line or valid sim card.

      You could in theory clone a sim card or break into one of BT's cabinets but the fact you would have to go to these extremes demonstrates that they are locked down.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lockdown the post and telephone services

        However using someone else's landline to make a call doesn't require a logon or note of your identity, merely a polite request, and the postal service similarly does not require you to identify yourself. Yorkshire's argument, cluelessness aside, seems to hint at anonymity equalling illegality, which to the police mind is perhaps how it looks.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    who is known for obnoxiously flaunting the cross of St George

    What a disgrace. Flying the cross of St George so soon after England were competing in the world cup.

    Does this somehow make him a bad person? Is he implying that he must somehow be racist or xenophobic because of the flag? Would it be OK if he was Scottish and flew the Saltire, Welsh and flew the Y Ddraig Goch, French and flew the Tricolor, German and flew the Bundesflagge und Handelsflagge? Or is it only the English, of all the people in the world, who are not allowed to display their national emblem for fear of being accused of "obnoxiously flaunting" it or of racism, xenophobia, nationalism or any of the other labels the PC brigade are more than happy to call those who do not agree with them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: who is known for obnoxiously flaunting the cross of St George

      No, you're right, they're all jingoistic pressure-heads.

  21. arober11

    Can you walk down a street without one of your devices piggybacking someones Wifi?

    As all the large Telco's, and a number of local Councils, now appear to offer some form of free and universal Wifi access, along with an App or two to maintain those piggybacked connections: BT Fon, FON, BsykB The Cloud, O2 Wifi, Cambridge City Council.......

    Has anyone manage to make it more than 20m from their home, before a phone, tablet or laptop has connected / had offered to connect itself to one of these offerings?

  22. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Revealing information useful to terrroists

    If the police wrote this letter then the fact that there is somebody on the Yorkshire constabulary that can read must be useful and previously highly classified information which has now been leaked

  23. Rentaguru

    pmsl

    Oh this makes up for the annoying knuckle dragger

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "prevent your access point from ending up on the hot spot list"

    WTF is the "hot spot list"?

    Not to be confused with a list of "WiFi hotspots", presumably.

  25. 101
    Childcatcher

    Bungling like the Fox

    The Guest function on a wireless router can allow anonymous persons to use the rf signal without a password, but prevents the guest from doodling with the innards of the source.

    This is a great way to spread anonymous communications and should be encouraged. Yes, I am saying OPEN YOUR WIFI doors wide!

    Officers intuitively know an anonymous wide open internet gives them less power to dominate and control their adversaries (that would be you and me) ...and so whether it's legal or not....they want to crush open WiFi.

    Folks....OPEN your WiFi Doors!

    It will set you FREE!

  26. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Grease Monkey

    Your dad wanted it turned off? In that case he would lose his own FON access. At least back when I was a BT customer it was a condition of you FON access that you kept the FON hotspot enabled on your router. Switching it off disabled your access to other peoples FON hotspots.

    Oh and before anybody points out that unlimited BT broadband comes with unlimited BT WiFi access that does not apply to FON. Or at least it didn't when I signed up to FON as part of my BT broadband. Having said that as soon as my exchange went LLU I left.

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