A federal court in Pittsburgh ruled that police may track Internet moochers without a warrant. The ruling reaffirms that Internet subscribers have no “reasonable expectation” of privacy in regards to IP addresses. This case however varies in that the case is against those that “steal” Internet access via unsecured wireless networks.
The case originates from a person suspected of downloading child pornography. Originally the police obtained the IP address and discovered it was a Comcast subscriber, after obtaining a warrant and searching the house and computers, the police concluded the perpetrator was not in the household. After using anti-mooching software and a directional antenna, the police were able to locate the suspect. After another search warrant the police found evidence and Richard Stanley was indicted of possession of child pornography.
What Stanley’s attorney’s argued was that they felt using the anti-mooching software required a separate warrant. Unfortunately for Mr. Stanley, the courts saw this act to be entirely legal. So really this begs a question, what about when you are using free wireless access points like a local coffee shop.
At any rate, be warned, don’t do evil things.