"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

ST: Teen, 17, first to be charged with unauthorised wireless Net access

"A 17-YEAR-OLD polytechnic student has become the first person here to be charged with piggybacking on someone else’s wireless Internet connection.

Garyl Tan Jia Luo was accused yesterday of using a laptop computer to gain unauthorised access to a home wireless network on May 13 this year."


The Fence: a Mexican Tale, by Jan Balet

Mexico is a land of volcanoes and tropical forests, of snow and fierce heat, of meadows and deserts, of cities and villages, of big dogs and little dogs, and, like everywhere else in the world, of rich people and poor people.

In Mexico, once upon a time, there was a very rich family who lived in a beautiful pink house with a huge green garden. Often rich people look well fed and happy, but the people in the pink house looked glum and miserable. Even their dog and their parrot were skinny and bad-tempered, although the house and the kitchen were full of every-thing one could desire.

Next door to the pink house lived a poor family. Their house was a little thatched hut. Between the two houses stood a big fence. Sometimes poor people are tired and unhappy, but not this family. The children glowed with health, although their house and kitchen were small and almost bare. They always made the best of what there was. Even their guinea-fowl and their cat looked happy. The sound of their children's laughter could often be heard through the fence and this annoyed the richpeople next door.

In the rich family's kitchen people were always busy, roasting, boiling, baking and frying. All day long glorious smells drifted through the fence. Early in the morning came the smell of hot chocolate. At noon it was the mouth-watering aroma of roast meat. And in the evening every breeze brought a smell of chicken or grilled fish or sometimes of spicy duck. No wonder the mother of the poor family would hand each of her children a slice of bread and say, "Now go and stand by the fence, and smell something good to enjoy with your bread."

One day the father of the rich family got very angry when he saw the children of the poor family standing by the fence and sniffing.

"Go away, you gang of thieves!" he yelled at them. "I'll send you to jail for stealing the smell of our food."

And sure enough, the next market day, the poor family and the rich family were called by the judge to appear in court.

On their way to court, both families stopped at the village market. Tradesmen from other villages had spread out their wares all over the market place. The lady from the pink house arrived with her cook to do the shopping. She was very fussy and haggled over everything: hair ribbons, baskets of eggs, tropical fruit from the south, hens, fried pancakes, and flowers.

All around her were stalls piled high with fruit: oranges, lemons, melons, bananas, and grapefruit. There were also loaves of bread made in all shapes and sizes, and still warm from the oven. Dogs barked. Old ladies gossiped. Everyone sniffed the glorious smell of the new-baked bread, but none of the bakers complained.

The trial was to begin at eleven o'clock. The rich family arrived early and was very elegantly dressed. The poor family arrived late, in their everyday clothes. Their children looked down at the ground because they were frightened. Still, they hoped that their father would be able to settle everything.

The judge called for silence and then told the rich man to speak first. The man from the pink house described how he paid his servants to cook the most delicious meals. But, he said, this did not help his family at all, because the wretched family next door stood by the fence and sniffed all the goodness away from the food.

"Look how well fed and happy they are!" he said. "That proves I am right."

The judge thought about this for a long time. Then he asked the father of the poor family what he had to say.

"May I leave the room for a moment?" the poor man asked. Standing just outside the door, he put a few coins into his sombrero and shook them so that they jingled loudly. His family began to laugh as he slyly asked the rich man whether he had heard the clink of the money. The rich man nodded. The judge understood what the poor man meant and gave them his decision.

"You," he said to the rich man, "have heard the jingle of this man's money, just as he sniffed the smell of your food. If he owed you anything for the smell, he has paid you back."

The poor family was delighted. They rushed home and held a fireworks party to celebrate the victory - for in Mexico if people are happy they always let off rockets. They did not make anyone pay to watch the rockets or to listen to them, and they let the wonderful smell of the burnt gunpowder drift across the fence - absolutely free."

I was trying to find a story/incident where a woman who didn't close her door/window sued a passer-by for outrage of modesty but I couldn't find one, so this is the next closest thing.

Addendum: Comment on Slashdot:

"If someone leaves an AP on and open...I think that is pretty much a free invite to join in...

What I find most interesting is that an open accesspoint is actually broadcasting invitations- if accepting an invitation is considered illegal, how is accessing a web server legal? I mean, a web server doesn't broadcast it's presence so you have to actively try and connect.

How can I tell the difference between an accesspoint that is intentionally open and one that has been set up by an idiot? Should I assume that everyone's an idiot? The next time I want to go to the pub, am I to assume that the building I'm about to enter isn't really a pub and the "Bar" sign hanging outside the door was put there accidentally?

When you associate with an open network, it's not as if you're going down the road trying doors to see if they're open - you're actually getting invitations broadcast to you and many devices will connect without asking - are you responsible for your computer connecting to a random access point without asking you first?"

Addendum: Also see the views expressed on Brown's blog.
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