Beware The Digital Age – aka “Know Your Technology”. Part 1, Secure Your Wi-Fi Router!

November 4, 2011  |  CRIMINAL, ETHICS, IN THE NEWS, INTERNET CRIME  |  Share

This is the first installment in what promises to be a continuing theme: the dangers associated with the digital age and the importance of understanding the technology that you are using before you attempt to use it.

I recently represented two unrelated clients that were the unwitting victims of predators who utilized their unsecured wi-fi routers. An innocent couple in Buffalo, NY, and an innocent family in Milford, MA, both had their homes raided by armed law enforcement agents who repeatedly accused them of being pedophiles in possession of child pornography. After hours of searching my clients homes and subjecting them to offensive statements and questions, the armed agents left with my clients computers and cell phones. Incredibly, in both instances law enforcement agents eventually arrested a neighbor that had allegedly used my client’s unsecured wi-fi router to download child porn.  You can read more about these case by clicking here for an article from The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money site.

The  Buffalo and Milford cases, as well as an earlier case in which a lawyer in Sarasota, FL suffered the same horrific scenario, caused law enforcement to change their procedures. Law enforcement officials in Columbus, OH recently arrested a Ryan C. Driscoll for the alleged possession of child pornography by using his neighbor’s wi-fi router without first having arrested the actual owner of the wi-fi router (his neighbor). Law enforcement officials specifically cited to the Buffalo, Milford and Sarasota cases as the impetus  for the changes in the procedures that avoided the unnecessary and tragic step of raiding of the home of the innocent wi-fi router owner.

The lesson to the rest of us is that we can no longer simply open a box and immediately start using an electronic device without first educating ourselves about the dangers and vulnerabilities of that device. Wi-fi router surfing is a prevalent activity for both innocent and nefarious purposes. An unsecured wi-fi router is an open invitation for unwanted intruder to engage in illegal conduct in the name of the wi-fi owner.

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