Seems reasonable to me. I am not sure that the "Canadian model" that Dvorak speaks about where "using unprotected 802.11 connections as bandwidth theft". I need to find a Canadian lawyer to see if that's actually true! Leave a comment if you know if Dvorak is right about the Canadian model.
Let me jump in and propose a simple, logical public policy. Law enforcement doesn't need to get involved whenever some guy in a doughnut shop poaches a nearby Wi-Fi connection to check his e-mail, thinking he's on the shop's network. This shouldn't be a crime, even if he's intentionally poaching. We must put the burden of responsibility on the broadcaster, not the end user. It has to be made clear that people sending open connections all over town should be responsible for them.
Here's what I propose: Once a wireless signal leaves private property, it becomes public domain. If the person transmitting the signal wants it protected, then encryption is up to him or her. If someone beams an Internet connection into my home and I happen to lock onto the signal, he is trespassing on me, not the other way around. Public policy must reflect this logic. Keep it out of my house if you don't want me using it. Keep it out of my car. Keep it away from me in public places.
This policy makes sense because it lets anyone who wants to provide open access do so without hassle or fear. Groups in San Francisco and Seattle are openly promoting free 802.11 connectivity. Many coffee shops, restaurants, and community groups now provide free wireless access, and directories of these hot spots are easy to find online.
This ubiquity of access is to be encouraged as in the public interest. But it can't happen if the law doesn't make the person transmitting the 802.11 signal responsible, instead of blaming any roaming users who are simply grabbing open connections. If this means that a corporate network is wide open to hackers, because the company doesn't bother encrypting the signal it broadcasts all over town, then so be it.
We must not follow the Canadian model that views using unprotected 802.11 connections as bandwidth theft. My computer grabs wireless signals impinging on my house more often than it grabs my own 802.11 connection. It just does. Agencies shouldn't be required to sort this out; it would be a law enforcement nightmare. In fact, it's in the public interest to discourage law enforcement intervention in this area, or I could be arrested for accidentally connecting to another person's router, when I didn't want to connect to it in the first place. That's ridiculous. I'm sure that no cops want to get involved in this mess either.