Should the Wall of Sheep Be Illegal? A Debate Over Whether and How Open WiFi Sniffing Should Be Regulated presented at DEF CON 20

by Jennifer Granick, Kevin Bankston, Matt Blaze,

Summary : Prompted by the Google Street View WiFi sniffing
scandal, the question of whether and how the law
regulates interception of unencrypted wireless
communications has become a hot topic in the
courts, in the halls of the FCC, on Capitol Hill,
and in the security community. Are open WiFi
communications protected by federal wiretap
law, unprotected, or some strange mix of the two?
(Surprise: it may be the last one, so youll want
to come learn the line between whats probably
illegal sniffing and whats probably not.)
More importantly, what should the law be?
Should the privacy of those who use WiFi
without encryption be protected by law, or
would regulating open WiFi sniffing pose too
great a danger to security research and wireless
innovation, not to mention DEF CON traditions
like the Wall of Sheep? Join legal expert Kevin
Bankston and technical expert Matt Blaze as they
square off in a debate to answer these questions,
moderated by Jennifer Granick. (Surprise: the
lawyer is the one arguing for regulation.)