By EDRi

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Niederlande: Hacken von WLAN-Verbindungen nicht rechtswidrig | http://www.unwatched.org/EDRigram_9.6_Niederlande_Hacken_von_WLAN-Routern_nicht_rechtswidrig]

A Dutch court in The Hague has recently ruled that by-passing an
encrypted router and using its WiFi connection does not infringe Dutch
law.

The decision of the court comes in relation to the case of a young man
having posted a threat on an Internet message board by using a WiFi
connection he had hacked into. Although the student was convicted for
posting the threatening message and sentenced to 20 hours of community
service, he was acquitted of the WiFi hacking charges.

The court considered that the student had not obtained access to the
computer connected to the router, but only used the router which, in the
terms of Dutch legislation, is legal as only breaking into a computer is
forbidden.

In The Netherlands, a computer is defined as a machine that is used for data
storage, processing and transmission. Therefore, a router cannot be
considered a computer because it is only used for data transferring or
processing and not storing. Hence, hacking a device that is not a computer
is legal and cannot be prosecuted in the court of law..

Therefore, actions such as piggybacking on open Wi-Fi networks in places
such as bars and hotels, which in some countries is considered illegal and
can be fined, cannot, according to the Dutch court decision, be prosecuted
in The Netherlands.

The Dutch Attorney General has appealed the verdict and the High Court
of The Netherlands will review the case within two years to
rule on whether a router can be defined as a computer under Dutch law.
It is also possible that the law might be updated in the meantime.

Dutch Court Rules WiFi Hacking Is Now Legal (19.03.2011)
http://www.pcworld.com/article/222589/dutch_court_rules_wifi_hacking_is_now_legal.html

Judge: wifi hacking network of neighbors may be done (only in Dutch,
14.03.2011)
http://webwereld.nl/nieuws/106024/rechter–wifi-netwerk-van-de-buren-hacken-mag.html