German court orders wireless passwords for all

May 12, 2010

(AP) -- Germany's top criminal court ruled Wednesday that Internet users need to secure their private wireless connections by password to prevent unauthorized people from using their Web access to illegally download data.

Internet users can be fined up to euro100 ($126) if a third party takes advantage of their unprotected WLAN connection to illegally download music or other files, the Karlsruhe-based court said in its verdict.

"Private users are obligated to check whether their wireless connection is adequately secured to the danger of unauthorized third parties abusing it to commit copyright violation," the court said.

But the court stopped short of holding the users responsible for the illegal content the third party downloads themselves.

The court also limited its decision, ruling that users could not be expected to constantly update their wireless connection's security - they are only required to protect their Internet access by setting up a password when they first install it.

The national consumer protection agency said the verdict was balanced.

Spokeswoman Carola Elbrecht told the German news agency DAPD it made sense that users should install protection for their wireless connection and that at the same time it was fair of the court not to expect constant technical updates by private users.

The ruling came after a musician, who the court did not identify, sued an Internet user whose wireless connection was used to illegally download a song which was subsequently offered on an online file sharing network.

But the user could prove that he was on vacation while the song was downloaded via his wireless connection. Still, the court ruled he was responsible to a degree for failing to protect his connection from abuse by third parties.

About 26 million homes in Germany have wireless Internet access, according to Bitkom, the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media.

Explore further: Startups offer banking for smartphone users

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fears Australian piracy case could shut off net

Jan 31, 2010

Australian Internet rights groups fear a piracy court case could force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to become "copyright cops" and cut web access to customers who make illegal downloads.

Spaniard sued for music file-sharing networks

May 19, 2009

(AP) -- Recording companies went to court Tuesday claiming euro13 million ($17.5 million) from a Spaniard they accuse of profiting from computer programs he designed to allow free music downloads over the Internet.

UK says illegal downloaders may lose Web access

Aug 25, 2009

(AP) -- People who repeatedly download copyrighted films and music could have their Internet connection cut off under proposed laws to tackle illegal file-sharing unveiled by the British government on Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

Aug 30, 2014

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

Aug 29, 2014

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

frajo
5 / 5 (1) May 12, 2010
Very nice. As the majority of home WLAN users in Germany certainly are no techies, they are going to follow the procedures in their manuals. And will end up with username "user" and password "password" (maybe in German).