North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Implicit agreements

Implicit agreements

Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 37
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What started out as a debate on wireless internet access on another forum has turned into a debate about implicit agreements, and as I use ya'lls input as a moral barometer so to speak, I'd like to get your thoughts on this subject.

The discussion now centers on the concept that if society has deemed that something should be a certain way, that society creates an implicit agreement about it, you are morally right to use it. In this case, wireless access points have become so prevailent in free use that society has created an implicit agreement that if you find an open hot spot, you have every right to use it whether the intention was for it to be free or not, it falls on the owner to protect it from general use.

This to me seems to be irrational. Property is property no matter what, society as a whole has no right to create an agreement that something of yours should be public use. You must get consent of the owner for any use of their property, and agreement between one perosn and society is not an agreement between two people.

The analogy of trespassing and knocking on some one's door is often brought up, that society has created an implicit agreement for you to be able to go on someone's property to knock on their door unless you specificly post you can't. To me, I see the fact that someone took the expense of building an inviting sidewalk or pathway of some sort to a front door, a door bell or knocker, and even welcome mats are signs the home owner has placed to say, yes you can come knock on my door to see if I'm home. You also are supposed to see if anyone is home to ask permission to come inside, or discuss whatever it was on your mind, and home owner has the right at any point to kick you off his property. Society does not automatically give someone the right to trespass.

What are ya'lls views on this? Is there any such thing as an implicit agreement that gives someone the right to use someone else's property without consent?

- Travis
A former member
Post #: 97
I think it just depends on the facts of the case.

I think someone can give "implicit permission" to others to come onto their property, just like you pointed out with the knocking on the door example. Whether accessing a wireless network would be the same is a good quesiton. (I also wouldn't phrase it in terms of society deeming that this is okay or not, but more in terms of individual rights, and justice.)

Since they could have turned on WEP and you didn't, maybe they have no right to complain. Maybe the correct analogy is someone who owns a piece of land and doesn't put a fence around it, or a sign up, to notify others that the land is his. If my memory serves me, under Texas law, if there isn't a "no tresspassing" sign and there isn't a fence around your land, then others can come onto it without getting explicit permission from you. (Whether this is the best policy or not is open to debate of course.)

This is certainly a good discussion topic.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 38
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My contention is that nothing gives society the right to dictate use of private property. I would say that the law that allows trespassing in absence of a fence is morally wrong.

So far the defense for justification of assuming that anyone can use any open wireless point is simply that society has created an implicit agreement you can use it and there are means by which you could keep them out such as WEP. My point is that many people don't understand WEP or encryption, and in the case of the fence, not everyone can afford to put up a fence. It should not be on the onus of the owner to have to put up such protections to keep people away from their property. These sorts of protections would not be necessary if everyone would simply respect property rights.
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 81
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I think there is the question of using a "hotspot" on someone's home network to gain access to the internet because I don't think you can know if you have consent. I don't see it so much as the same as land. It is easy to look at land and realize if you don't want your neighborh hood dogs playing or pooping on your yard, you would do wise to put up a fense.

There are many people that have home networks that think they have secure home networks. They think they do because they probably pay their cable isp or local pc shop money to make sure their network is secure. But they don't know how to test it themselves to make sure it really is.

There are of course ways to secure your network, but I believe to varying degrees?

Also, I really have to question the motives of someone that is going around using some stranger's unsecured network to get to the internet without permission. There are enough free public places to do that (all the coffee shops, etc...that offer this service. Some require you buy something so don't. Some hotels require you to be a guest, some don't).
A former member
Post #: 98
My contention is that nothing gives society the right to dictate use of private property. I would say that the law that allows trespassing in absence of a fence is morally wrong.

So far the defense for justification of assuming that anyone can use any open wireless point is simply that society has created an implicit agreement you can use it and there are means by which you could keep them out such as WEP. My point is that many people don't understand WEP or encryption, and in the case of the fence, not everyone can afford to put up a fence. It should not be on the onus of the owner to have to put up such protections to keep people away from their property. These sorts of protections would not be necessary if everyone would simply respect property rights.

Nice to see such a passionate commitment to private property rights.

You're right about many people probably not understanding what WEP is or how to activate it.

I should probably admit that I've used other people's wireless access points to access the Internet before without their explicit permission in my apartment complex. devilish When I did it, I didn't think of it as stealing, but maybe you are on to something. Discussion like this is important with regard to establishing rules (both legal and social) for such new technologies, so hopefully the truth will work its way to the surface (metaphorically speaking).
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 83
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There could be an issue too with the ISP. From what I have read elsewhere, ISPs may require a person's home network to be secure so that people are not randomly accessing the internet using their service for free.
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