If you need to break the oppressive chain blocking you from using someone else’s property on your own terms, resourceful individuals are working to make sure you can have whatever you want. Behold the WiFi Liberator:
Wifi Liberator is an open-source toolkit for a laptop computer that enables its user to “liberate” pay-per-use wireless networks and create a free, open node that anyone can connect to for Internet access. The project is presented as a challenge to existing corporate or “locked” private wireless nodes to encourage the proliferation of free networks and connectivity across the planet. The project was inspired by the ongoing “battle” between providers broadcasting wireless signals in public spaces, in particular: corporate entities, wireless community groups, individual users, and proponents of open networks. Like my Wifi-Hog project, the Wifi-Liberator critically examines the tensions between providers trying to profit from the increasingly minimal costs associated with setting up a public network and casual users who simply want to see the Internet transform into another “public utility” and become as ubiquitous and free as the air we breath. The project targets pay-per-use wireless networks as often found in airports, other public terminals, hotels, global-chain coffee shops, and other public waiting points.
I’ve traditionally recognized such liberation as theft.
It’s irrelevant how minimal the costs associated with setting up a public network happens to be. Price and value include more than just expense. Bandwidth supply is not unlimited at any one point. For users who have a critical need, however legitimate, they can have the access they need if they’ll pay the price. Casual users need not pay or use the service if they don’t like the price. If it’s not profitable because enough people won’t pay to cover those minimal cost, the business will adjust or die. As long as there’s a profitable model, someone will find it. That is how (closer to) free access should and will arrive.
Via Boing Boing