Practical Technology

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Tethering Thief Nonsense


My ZDNet comrade James Kendrick argues that if you tether–use your 3G or 4G phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot without permission–that you’re a thief. Please. No. Just no.

When AT&T can charge users who have jail-broken their phones, such as an iPhone, to use them as mobile potshots, with a tethering fee, I don’t see how that turns such users into thieves. At the end of the day, they’re still stuck with the bill.

As a lawyer friend of mine put it, “The fact that it may be violation of the Terms of Service is merely a contractual breach; it’s not necessarily ‘illegal’ to jailbreak a phone or to use it as a hotspot, never mind calling it ‘thief.’”

Indeed, if I were going to throw the word ‘thief’ around, I think charging an additional a $20-$30 monthly fee for mobile hotspot service is the real thief here.

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