Thursday, December 29, 2011

21st Century Situational Ethics

I am not an expert on ethics, but I faced an annual ethical problem: how to access wifi when visiting a relative who has no internet access.  In the good old days (last year and before), the neighbors of my mother-in-law left their wifi un-encrypted, so I could and did access the internet via their wifi.  I don't think I downloaded enough stuff to change the rates that they were charged, but I was clearly partaking of something that did not belong to me.

This year, no dice (as my lack of blog posts might have indicated).  The folks encrypted their wifi.  One of my nieces thought she figured out the password for one of the neighboring wifi sources.  But she didn't.  I definitely felt far more reluctant about stealing someone's protected wifi as opposed to an unprotected source of internet, but my addiction to the net might have overcome whatever qualms I had.

Instead, I ended up going to Starbucks a few times for their free wifi--where I bought a drink to soothe my guilt about just sitting in a coffee shop to use free wifi.  Apparently, loitering in a cafe for free wifi imposes more moral issues (guilt) than sitting in a house near someone else's free wifi. 

What do my readers (if they have access to the internet) say about this quandary of the 21st century?


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

It's become a typical thing for me, personally, when I'm traveling to stop in a Starbucks or Second Cup to use their internet. It's that or I really do use the neighbour's internet without them knowing.

Funny enough, when we traveled to BC a few years ago, my brother encrypted the wifi on our friend's house. They were having a lot of charges added to their bill by neighbours using their wifi. Within an hour of making it password protected there was a knock on the door from a neighbour asking for the password. I couldn't believe it! I was laughing so hard.