posted on Jul, 22 2016 @ 12:11 AM
Its legal in some places and illegal in others. I researched it about a year ago. I was gong to set up a special antenna, but decided against it.
heres what wiki say about it
Piggybacking (Internet access)
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For other uses, see Piggybacking.
Piggybacking on Internet access is the practice of establishing a wireless Internet connection by using another subscriber's wireless Internet access
service without the subscriber's explicit permission or knowledge. It is a legally and ethically controversial practice, with laws that vary by
jurisdiction around the world. While completely outlawed or regulated in some places, it is permitted in others.
A customer of a business providing hotspot service, such as a hotel or café, is generally not considered to be piggybacking, though non-customers or
those outside the premises who are simply in reach may be. Many such locations provide wireless Internet access as a free or paid-for courtesy to
their patrons or simply to draw people to the area. Others near the premises may be able to gain access.
Piggybacking is distinct from wardriving, which involves only the logging or mapping of the existence of access points.
Piggybacking has become a widespread practice in the 21st century due to the advent of wireless Internet connections and Wireless access points.
Computer users who either do not have their own connections or who are outside the range of their own might find someone else's by wardriving or luck
and use that one.
However, those residing near a hotspot or another residence with the service have been found to have the ability to piggyback off such connections
without patronizing these businesses, which has led to more controversy. While some may be in reach from their own home or nearby, others may be able
to do so from the parking lot of such an establishment, from another business that generally tolerates the user's presence, or from the public
domain. Others, especially those living in apartments or town houses, may find themselves able to use a neighbour's connection.
Wi-Fi hotspots (unsecured and secured) have already been recorded (to some degree) with GPS-coordinates. Sites such as Wigle.net and WifiMaps provide
Long range antennas can be hooked up to laptop computers with an external antenna jack - these allow a user to pick up a signal from as far as several
kilometers away. Since unsecured wireless signals can be found readily in most urban areas, laptop owners may find free or open connections almost
anywhere. While 2.4 and 5.8 GHz antennas are commercially available and easily purchased from many online vendors, they are also relatively easy to
make. Laptops and tablets that lack external antenna jacks can rely on external Wi-Fi modems with radios - many requiring only USB or Power over
Ethernet (PoE) power connections which the laptop can itself easily provide from its own battery.
There are many reasons why Internet users desire to piggyback on other's networks.
For some, the cost of Internet service is a factor. Many computer owners who cannot afford a monthly subscription to an Internet service, who only use
it occasionally, or who otherwise wish to save money and avoid paying, will routinely piggyback from a neighbour or a nearby business, or visit a
location providing this service without being a paying customer. If the business is large and frequented by many people, this may go largely
unnoticed. Yet other piggybackers are regular subscribers to their own service, but are away from home when they wish to gain Internet access and do
not have their own connection available at all or at an agreeable cost.
Often, a user will access a network completely by accident, as the network access points and computer's wireless cards and software are designed to
connect easily by default. This is common when away from home or when the user's own network is not behaving correctly. Such users are often unaware
that they are piggybacking, and the subscriber has not noticed. Regardless, piggybacking is difficult to detect unless the user can be viewed by
others using a computer under suspicious circumstances.
Less often, it is used as a means of hiding illegal activities, such as downloading child pornography or engaging in identity theft. This is one main
reason for controversy.
Network owners leave their networks unsecured for a variety of reasons. They may desire to share their Internet access with their neighbours or the
general public or may be intimidated by the knowledge and effort required to secure their network while making it available to their own laptops. Some
wireless networking devices may not support the latest security mechanisms, and users must therefore leave their network unsecured. For example, the
Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite can only access wireless routers using the discredited WEP standard, however, the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS both
support WPA encryption. Given the rarity of such cases where hosts have been held liable for the activities of piggybackers, they may be unaware or
unconcerned about the risks they incur by not securing their network, or of a need for an option to protect their network.
Some jurisdictions have laws requiring residential subscribers to secure their networks (e.g., in France "négligence caractérisée" in HADOPI). Even
where not required by law, landlords might request that tenants secure their networks as a condition of their lease.
Main article: Legality of piggybacking
Views on the ethics of piggybacking vary widely. Many support the practice, stating it is harmless, and that it benefits the piggybacker at no expense
to others, while others criticize it with terms like "leeching", "mooching", or "freeloading". A variety of analogies are made in public discussions
to relate the practice to more familiar situations. Advocates compare the practice to:
Sitting behind another passenger on a train, and reading their newspaper over their shoulder.
Enjoying the music a neighbour is playing in their backyard.
Using a drinking fountain.
Sitting in a chair put in a public place.
Reading from the light of a porch light or streetlamp.
Accepting an invitation to a party, since unprotected wireless routers can be interpreted as being open to use.
Borrowing a cup of sugar
Opponents to piggybacking compare the practice to:
Entering a home just because the door is unlocked
Hanging on the outside of a bus to obtain a free ride.
Connecting one's own wire to a neighbour's house to obtain free cable TV service when the neighbour is a subscriber.
The piggybacker is using the connection paid for by another without sharing the cost. This is especially commonplace in an apartment building where
many residents live within the normal range of a single wireless connection. Some residents are able to gain free Internet access while others pay.
Many ISPs charge monthly rates, however, so there is no difference in cost to the network owner. Excessive piggybacking may slow the host's
connection, with the host typically unaware of the reason for the reduction of speed. This is more of a problem where a large number of persons are
engaging in this practice, suc