News

Teen Faces Jail for Tapping Wireless

Singapore teen faces 3 years' jail for tapping into another's wireless Internet.

(Singapore) A Singapore teenager has been charged with tapping into someone else's wireless Internet connection, a crime that carries a penalty of up to three years in jail, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Garyl Tan Jia Luo, 17, is the first person to be charged with this crime under the Computer Misuse Act, the Straits Times reported.

The report said Tan is accused of using a laptop computer to gain unauthorized access to a home wireless network on May 13.

The newspaper said a neighbor had apparently lodged a complaint against Luo.

Most notebook computers and personal digital assistants can detect unsecured networks and easily gain access.

Tan was released on a bail of 6,000 Singapore dollars (US$3,855; euro3,000) and is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

If convicted, Tan faces up to three years in jail and fines of up to S$10,000 (US$6,425; euro5,000) under the Computer Misuse Act.

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Dec 1, 2006 George W Bush Washington, DC

To quote my father: "Read my lips - there will be NO new taxes" to support Hillary's proposal to prevent wireless access to the 'Interweb' on my watch. Stay the course!

Fri, Dec 1, 2006 Hillary Clinton New York City

Please pay NO attention to the ramblings of my "has-been" husband. He's been there and he certainly "DONE that". While I support his right to post his "free speech" on this issue, I - as future President of the USA in 2008, will seek to protect minors from ridiculous prosecutions such as this case from the Phillipines by making it illegal for all wireless Internet connections worldwide to even exist. No wireless Internet access - ergo, no possibility of children making illegal wireless connections to the Internet. Thus, this will protect children throughout the USA, the Phillipines, and worldwide. (We may need to raise taxes in the USA for this program).

Fri, Dec 1, 2006 Bill Clinton Washington, DC

uh - I meant 17-year old, not 13-year old. Darn - still a minor, non-the-less. Since he is close to the adult age, perhaps stiffer penalties could be used? 6,000 Signapore dollars seems WAY too low of a fine! How about a fine of $1 million U.S. dollars to help pay for investigators to go after all children who trade iPod or MP3 music files between themselves without actually paying for them! These kids will be the death of the music industry as we know it! How would us adults be able to feel comfortable knowing that our favorite popular music stars such as Michael Jackson and Barry Manilow will want to continue to write the songs that make us laugh and sing if these pirating "kids" keep them from getting the royalties they deserve?

Fri, Dec 1, 2006 Bill Clinton Washington, DC

The U.S. Military should use their "extreme rendition" policy of using CIA agents to capture this 13-year old on Phillipine sovereign soil, fly him to Guantanamo Bay Cuba, and use Dick Cheney's torture tactics to make sure we don't see this kind of extremely illegal behavior from this minor in the future. This child's behavior is extremely reprehensable, so no lawyer would need to be provided to him. I wonder why this boy's neighbor doesn't follow "best practices", like all the hotel chains in the United States that offer wireless Internet access to their guests. After all, they always offer it with the utmost of security methods to prevent guests that access thier wireless networks the ability to browse each other's machines.

Sat, Nov 18, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

All these comments miss the point. If you beam your radio waves into my house, I have a right to listen to them. If you encrypt these transmissions, AND, the government makes a law prohibiting decryption of them, then you have a potential crime. I could reasonably complain about your transmissions trespassing on my property.

Thu, Nov 16, 2006 Ed B Middleboro, MA US

Two comments I found to be really stupid.

Abs0lut: "Just because i don't have guard dogs or an electrified fence doesn't give someone the right to trespass."

DrMicro: "Just because I leave my front door open does not constitute blanket invitation".

Looking at the facts from the article, it doesn't state his home network was insecure. If the accuser was smart enough to catch the teenager then I assume he or she was smart enough to secure there network. So I would guess that the teenager was cracking the WEP or WPA encryption. In this case I would prosecute.

If the network wasn't secure then same on the accuser for there stupidity.

Anybody could sit up on a hill with a cantenna and a laptop and surf whole neighborhoods.

Anyhow the laws in Singapore are allot harsher the the US, Canada, or UK.

Wed, Nov 15, 2006 Enoelf Columbus, OH

Harsh penalties are the only way to go. It needs to become dangerous to display this type of behavior. It's too bad that the perpetrator will most likely get a slap on the wrist and be released into the public to do it again, only this time much more carefully.

Tue, Nov 14, 2006 DrMicro Champaign, IL

There are details missing here that make or break the story and the righteous indignation expressed by previous posters; namely, how did the neigbor detect the wireless intrusion, what did the neighbor do to confront the defendant and give him the opportunity to cease and desist, and if that happened, did the defendant continue to surf on the back of his neighbors internet connection. The fact that his neighbor did or did not have WEP or WPA security doesn't matter. Just because I leave my front door open does not constitute blanket invitation for someone to enter my home and do whatever they wish. While I may agree that the punishment seems a bit excessive, from the story as presented, we don't know all the facts.

Tue, Nov 14, 2006 Abs0lut US

It is rather a case of implied privacy. Just because i dont have guard dogs or an electrified fence doesnt give someone the right to tresspass. Like my uncle used to say of people on his propery "Those found here at night... Will be found here in the morning".. I do agree the penalty in this case is harsh.

Tue, Nov 14, 2006 abhi U.K.

i agree with dave. this is complete bollocks. Any windows based PC or PDA will detect and sometimes connect to unsecured networks. some people even allow the use of free networks like starbucks coffee. this by no means is a crime that too facing such a harsh penalty.

Tue, Nov 14, 2006 Dave Canada

This is insane. If people don't know how to protect their wireless networks its their problem and others who connect to their network should not be facing any penalty. Most of the notebooks are configured to get connected to wireless networks automatically when it comes in the range and a novice who does not have any idea about the wireless configuration and accidentally gets connected to an unsecured wireless network would not have a heck of idea as to whats going on, does that mean that he faces prosecution.?????

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