Engadget’s posted about the Wi-Fi Liberator Toolkit, an open source toolkit for Apple laptops that enables you to “liberate” paid-for wireless networks and make them available to others for free. The project says:
Most of these “closed” networks are deployed in “waiting” areas with the promise of “convenience” to allow pedestrians or commuters access to the Internet, however they nevertheless impose a monetary and time-based restriction on who can connect as well as for how long, often with “hourly” or “daily” rates for connectivity. Wifi-Liberator is a reaction against these limits to access by lifting the constrictions associated with paid networks and turning them into “free” networks.
The project finds inspiration from the Open Source movement’s ability to turn once “commercial” software into freely available and distributable entities.
I think that’s a little misguided: surely sharing paid Wi-Fi is more akin to cracking Office and putting it on Bittorrent, or burning DVD copies for others?
If you like the sound of Wi-Fi Liberator, it’s worth mentioning three things: you still need to connect to the closed network before you can share it, so as far as I can tell you’ll need to pay for the access you give others for free; it’s almost certainly against the T&Cs of Wi-Fi services; and here in the UK, you might fall foul of the Computer Misuse Act or even the Terrorism Act (which classes interfering with or disrupting computer networks as terrorism).