Accessing open Wi-Fi networks may become legal in Finland

Today, Finnish Internet users can be punished for accessing open Wi-Fi networks without permission

Finland should change its current law, and not make it punishable by law to access someone's unprotected Wi-Fi network, according to experts invited to comment on the matter by the Finnish Ministry of Justice.

The act should decriminalized, a majority of the respondents to a Ministry of Justice survey said. The Finnish Ministry of Justice had asked 23 authorities, organizations and experts to give their point of view on the legality of accessing an open Wi-Fi network without the owner's permission, and 15 of them responded, the ministry said.

Today, people in Finland that access unprotected networks can be punished for unlawful entry. To date, one person has been found guilty by a district court, according to the ministry.

One of the reasons the respondents gave why accessing someone's open Wi-Fi network should not necessarily be illegal is that it is so easy to protect a Wi-Fi network, the Ministry of Justice said.

The Ministry of Justice will start working on a new law in September, at the earliest, according to Sami Kiriakos, a legal advisor at the Finnish Ministry of Justice. The ministry is short on resources, so it may take a few more months for work to get started, he said.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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