Give your WiFi router an inappropriate name, go to jail?

January 20th, 2012

Police in New Jersey are investigating a wireless router after receiving a complaint that it was broadcasting a racist and anti-Semitic network name.

A mother was watching her 3-year-old daughter attend a dance class at a recreation center in Teaneck when she noticed the offensive WiFi name appear on her iPhone. The mother immediately complained to employees, who in turn called the police. Responding police were able to locate the router inside the rec center.

Township Police Chief Robert Wilson stated that the incident is being investigated as a “possible bias crime.”

The mother that initially noticed the signal commented that the person responsible “should see jail time” for the offense.

Ok, hold up. Crime? Jail time? Really?

Sure, giving your router a hateful SSID isn’t something that well-adjusted people do. But is it a crime? Last I checked, the First Amendment is still on the books in America.

It’s legal for the KKK to exist. It’s legal to stand at funerals holding signs that say “God hates fags.” It’s legal for neo-Nazis to march through Jewish neighborhoods wearing swastikas.

In America, it’s still legal to hate — and to express that hate non-violently — regardless of how distasteful it is to the majority. Free speech, and all. My guess is that most middle school kids can tell you this. Why is it that so many of our law enforcement officers seem to be completely oblivious when it comes to basic civil liberties?

And for the record, my wireless router is named “Jimmy.”

Categories: Tech Idiocy Tags: ,
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