Apr 16, 2012

How do you feel about wardriving?

I was doing yardwork this weekend while my 9 year old daughter went on a bike ride around the neighborhood, and when she got back I noticed that she had her Nintendo DS in her bike's basket. I asked her why she took her DS on a bike ride, and got an answer that I was not expecting. She was wardriving. On a bicycle. Wardriving, or warbiking in this case, is the act of driving around searching for WiFi networks. It often gets used interchangeably with piggybacking, which is actually connecting to the network(s) you find, but I am not talking about that, I'm talking about actual wardriving. Anyway, turns out that there is a game called Treasure World for the DS that basically consists of wardriving. I thought it was pretty amusing, but at a party last night where I related the story, one guest was very critical of it, and thought that I was excusing unethical behavior by my daughter. I think he is being absurd, but perhaps I'm the one in the minority on this. So what is the consensus, is wardriving a Bad Thing?

Kids will be kids. It doesn't seem like a big deal to me, so more power to her. I hope she continues to have a good time.

It's fine with me.  They are broadcasting the signal, your daughter isn't piggybacking, so there isn't any harm being done.  As you point out, a lot of people assume wardriving and piggybacking are the same thing, but they aren't.  It isn't as if she is hoovering up private data, a la Google driving around.  She isn't using any one's broadband, so there is no harm whatsoever.  Mad Men won't stutter on anyone's Netflix because of a little girl riding a bike around with a Nintendo DS.  Plus, there are actually a couple of people in my neighborhood that intentionally leave open WiFi for anyone to use, so I know they wouldn't mind.  I'd let her enjoy her game and not give it a second thought.  

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