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UK war driver fined £500

A man was last week fined £500 after a British jury found him guilty of using a neighbourhood wireless broadband connection without permission. Gregory Straszkiewicz, 24, was also sentenced to a 12 months conditional discharge after he was convicted of dishonestly obtaining an communications service and related offences at London's Islewoth Crown Court last Wednesday (20th July).25 Jul 2005

By John Leyden for The Register

This article has been reproduced from The Register, with permission.

The case – brought under the Communications Act 2003 – is the first "war driving" prosecution in the UK, according to the police. Officers caught Straszkiewicz hunting for "free" net connections in a residential area after complaints from locals. Straszkiewicz deliberately set out to borrow bandwidth from his unwitting benefactors but there's no evidence he had any hostile motive beyond this – so his sentence seems harsh. It's unclear whether anyone who accidentally jumped onto another party's net connection (easy to do if a host is using an unsecured connection with no encryption) might also risk prosecution.

© The Register 2005