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Fined For Using Free Internet Wireless

Because I travel a great deal, and because I use a laptop computer with wireless capability, I was stunned to read this article. It amazes me, and confuses me, that it is illegal to use one’s computer outside a cafe that offers free internet service for its customers. Off to jail I may go one of these days! Promise you’ll send cookies.


A man surfs the Internet using his Wi-Fi-enabled laptop in a Philadelphia park.

A Michigan man has been fined $400 and given 40 hours of community service for accessing an open wireless Internet connection outside a coffee shop.

Under a little known state law against computer hackers, Sam Peterson II, of Cedar Springs, Mich., faced a felony charge after cops found him on March 27 sitting in front of the Re-Union Street Café in Sparta, Mich., surfing the Web from his brand-new laptop.

Last week, Peterson chose to pay the fine instead as part of a jail-diversion program.

“I think a lot of people should be shocked, because quite honestly, I still don’t understand it myself.”

Read the entire article here.


By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

13 replies on “Fined For Using Free Internet Wireless”

1-My comment was to express discontent over the harsh punishment.
2-I have had my laptop open many times, received a connection and don’t know exactly ‘where’ it comes from.

So, I totally understand the guy.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day!


Hey, our government is totally screwed up. They are one hundred percent wrong. They could have fixed this problem a long time ago.

My beef is the ones who come here and demand we change our laws to suit them. The ones who march in the streets with Mexican flags. They don’t dare protest the other 100 percent wrong problem, Mexico.

They know that here they won’t get their heads cracked in. So marching at home isn’t worth the sacrifice. The Irish, Italians, Germans, Dutch, French who migrated here assimilated into our culture. Mexicans don’t seem to be interested in this. They wanna work and live here but have no interest in joining.

I have no beef with someone who is poor and is trying to feed their family. I have been to Mexico, it is pathetic and sad that a country with the kind resources it has at it’s disposal should be so poor.

It has grown beyond a few people struggling to get over here to make a living. It has become and invasion and political movement.


Holly, You missed the point.

If it’s okay to break the law (or the maybe law) pertaining to “stealing” intrernet access, then why condemn someone who breaks the law in a different way, such as sneaking over the border? Isn’t breaking one law as bad as breaking another? [NOTE: We aren’t talking about violent crimes here, no murder or grand larceny.] If you break a law, do you have the right to comdemn others for doing the same? And if need is the issue, does a person “need” to get on the internet as badly as another person needs a job?

Just a thought. Thought should make us “better” people – kinder, more giving and forgiving, able to live out what we say we believe, able to remember who we are: Sinners saved by God’s grace.


You would do it legally? Obviously if there was a way people would come here legally they would and actually there are people coming to this country legally when that opportunity is available.

I’m not much of a political person. I pray for our government and that’s about it. I’m talking about families. Men whose only concern is to work to provide for their families, women who don’t know anything but to take care of their children, and children who have no idea of what’s going. Who listens to them?

In my personal opinion, I think the governments (ours and theirs) are totally to blame. US for letting this get out of hand, and neighboring countries for not taking care for their people.

All I’m saying is look at the other side of the coin. Do not think you (and/or your country) are wronged (“breaking the law”) just because you were born on this side of the land.


Wow, what a fire starter we have here. Internet, they should have gotten the guy. The sentence was a bit harsh. I think a fine (like a speeding ticket) would have taught him a perfect lesson. They went a bit overboard.

As far as immigration. If you don’t like the way things are in your country. Whatever you gotta do. Change it. They encourage you to come here and break our laws so they don’t have to be accountable. Then you march in our streets and protest the laws you are breaking. If I went to Mexico and tried to protest in their streets I’d never get out.

Change comes with sacrifice, blood and tears.

In 1776 a whole bunch of others did. It cost blood and lives but they succeded and we have the freedoms we have today. The freedoms illegal immigrants take advantage of.



Yes. If my family was suffering at the hands of my government I would do what was necessary, but I would do it legally and not blatantly break the laws of the country I expected to save me.

Big Difference.


I think that if you’re going to go to an Internet cafe regularly and use their space, then it’s wrong to use your computer there—unless you buy something at the cafe. Am I understanding this right? In any case, we’ll send you cookies IF something like this inadvertently happens to you some time. HAW!


Well Holly that just makes you blessed doesn’t it? You are a law-abiding citizen.
Immigrants don’t come here to break the law. We come because of necessity. Just as not all americans are a law-abiding citizen not all immigrants come here to start trouble.
I wonder if you were put in the same situation as many thousands of families are put through due to poverty, lack of education and some lack of support from government, would you make the same decision, to be a law-abiding citizen?


Dear Helen ~

Illegal immigrants differ from me because they’ve broken the law. Yes, we’ve made it easy for them to break the law; yes, our country’s enforcement of the law has been pathetic; and yes, we surely do offer them a lot of enticements to break the law. But the fact still remains – they are law-breakers, and I am a law-abiding citizen.

Big Difference


Folks, this isn’t that hard. “Free” internet is for customers. You wouldn’t go into McDonald’s to collect “free” packets of ketchup and sugar without buying a hamburger or “hunt” a motel you weren’t planning to stay in to get “free” ice. No, these are for customers. Well, the owner of the coffee shop is providing “free” internet connections for his customers, too, not for the world.

The world does not owe us “free” internet connections any more than it owes us free houses. You don’t have to be computer savvy to know that. This is an issue where ignorance just doesn’t cut it. The very fact that you can get on the internet means the person who set up the network isn’t that savvy either. Otherwise, it would be “secured’ and you couldn’t get on.

The legality of “wardriving” or “warwalking” has yet to be determined. But we have our consciences to guide us (to say nothing of “Thou Shalt Not Steal”).

If you want free internet, go to the public library. It’s not free, taxes pay for it. But coffee shop owners are in business to make money, not to provide a convenience to computer users. You don’t have to be too savvy to get that.



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