August 22, 2004
No One Receiving

From AKMA, So Weirdly Wrong

A few minutes ago, a police officer passed the bench where I was sitting outside the Athenaeum, enjoying the mild temperature and the wifi signal, and he said, “Sir, you can’t use the Internet outside the library.”

So begins a not-quite Kafka-esque (but certainly confusing) tale of access points, radio waves, and polite seminarians...

Turns out AKMA may have been in the wrong, or at least in the grey area on the edge of signal range... Shelley turns up this piece about the patchwork of applicable laws.

Thankfully, our man has learned something from our current, near Spiro, veep:

posted from a secure hiding place near an open access point. . . .
Posted by esinclai at August 22, 2004 08:40 PM |

Ok, I'm confused.

  • How did he know you were, "using the Internet," as opposed to, say, reading some off-line web pages or mail you sync'd while within the walls? Have they begun issuing these to Chicago's Finest?
  • If the violation was using the library's WiFi from outside, how did he know you weren't using a nice focused signal from your office across the street?
  • How did he know you weren't using a low-rate cellular service?
  • Did you ask him to cite the law or ordinance that prohibits any "Internet use" outside a public library? Is that like smoking within a hundred yards of a school?
Posted by: Scott on August 23, 2004 01:27 AM

Minor nit, but AKMA is in Nantucket on some sort of residency program. But yes, your questions are generally apt.

Of course, if he had been using a GPRS connection, he'd have been paying for the service most likely, and thus would by definition using it with permission.

Posted by: Eric Sinclair on August 23, 2004 06:57 AM
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