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EFF – Open Wireless Movement


The Open Wireless Movement is a coalition of Internet freedom advocates, companies, organizations, and technologists working to develop new wireless technologies and to inspire a movement of Internet openness. We are aiming to build technologies that would make it easy for Internet subscribers to portion off their wireless networks for guests and the public while maintaining security, protecting privacy, and preserving quality of access.

We’re also teaching the world about the many benefits of open wireless in order to help society move away from closed networks and to a world in which openness is the default. Our efforts follow the opinion of nationally recognized computer security expert Bruce Schneier, who considers maintaining an open wireless node a matter of “basic politeness”:

Whenever I talk or write about my own security setup, the one thing that surprises people—and attracts the most criticism—is the fact that I run an open wireless network at home. There’s no password. There’s no encryption. Anyone with wireless capability who can see my network can use it to access the internet.

To me, it’s basic politeness. Providing internet access to guests is kind of like providing heat and electricity, or a hot cup of tea.


  1. I’ve had a trawl through their FAQs. The people behind this movement are more political and legal campaigners, providing some dangerous technical advice. For example, the legal stuff mainly addresses copyright infringement issues, which isn’t a problem anyway because that’s settled almost entirely in a civil case.

    But they talk about criminal misuse and the possibility of getting raided by the Old Bill as an afterthought. According to them, this is a rare occurence, but they’re talking about reported cases. Identifying the network as open (SSIDs and stickers, etc.) provides no protection if the police work from the IP address, raid the property and ask questions later.


  2. I agree with the aims of the EFF, however, the dangers of crackers using your Router does concern me. So I’m investigating how to achieve what the EFF wants, with maximum security for the home user. I can’t agree with an open WIFI router.. unless you’ve some solid security. Newer routers allow an external IP, guest account…. VPN’s offer a second layer of security from the state. Once these protections are in place, we can do what the EFF ask for. Shared IP’s do limit tracking, especially on VPN’s. I can see where they’re going with the advice. It’s just protecting domestic users with a belt and braces approach, whilst stopping the surveillance state in it’s tracks. The two goals are tricky… but it is doable, so I’ll go with Schneier’s advice… and say go with an Open wifi – if and only if you have a special router that allows guest access.
    On a more basic level, you’d need to switch off device sharing in windows… or all the local children will use up your printer ink, printing out their Xmas cards for free. 🙂 🙂


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