Stealing Wi-Fi If Rolling Back the Clock on the Computer For More Time?

I s a person considered stealing Wi-Fi if rolling back the clock on the computer for more time at an airport, aboard an airplane, or in some other facility where access to the Internet is charged?

This is one debate amongst FlyerTalk members, who were tearing apart the questionable ethics of advice in an article called 14 Airport Hacks to Make Your Next Flight Better, which was originally written by Sophie-Claire Hoeller for Thrillist — the same Sophie-Claire Hoeller who wrote such articles as 8 travel hacks even frequent fliers don’t know on which I added comments in this article; and Why you should always dress up on a plane on which I added comments in this article

…but in launching this discussion in which the vociferous debate resides, FlyerTalk member joshwex90 unknowingly linked to an article which was plagiarized greater than two years later by the same unknown entity which blatantly plagiarized one of my articles — photographs and all — in a clear case of copyright infringement.

Are you keeping up with me so far?

I am not even sure I am keeping up with myself at this point — but I digress, as usual.

Stealing Wi-Fi If Rolling Back the Clock on the Computer For More Time?

“I don’t think rolling back your computer clock for wifi is bad advice at all. In my opinion, free wifi should be provided at any major transportation hub, such as major train stations and airports. We live in 2016. In most civilized countries, free wifi is provided at the airport and even unlimited, sadly in some countries this doesn’t seem to be so straightforward,” FlyerTalk member Bakpapier posted in response to number two on that aforementioned list of 14 airport hacks — how I despise that word — which advised to “roll back your computer’s clock for more time on WiFi” as explained by Sophie-Claire Hoeller: “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When airports hand you an hour of Wifi, play the system and make two hours look like one by rolling back the system clock before the first hour is up.”

The comment by Bakpapier prompted this response by FlyerTalk member Low Roller: “I agree that wifi should be free where the infrastructure exists to provide it. But…just because you think something should be free, doesn’t mean you should steal it if it isn’t” — and joshwex90 agrees: “I agree WiFi should be free. But that doesn’t give me the right to get it free if they want me to pay. In that sense, it seems no different than stealing a neighbor’s WiFi.”

Thus began the debate: are you stealing Wi-Fi if rolling back the clock on the computer for more time — if you were actually able to do so successfully?


I have always believed that Wi-Fi should be available free of charge at airports, in hotel rooms, and in other places and facilities; but I am not naïve to believe that offering that service does not cost the provider money. I suppose that if part of the airport taxes or room rates at hotel or resort properties covered that charge, we are paying for it somehow anyway — whether the charge is hidden or obvious…

…but unlike the services and products provided by airlines — which have been “unbundled” and now cost passengers extra money in the form of ancillary fees that have helped airlines earn billions of dollars in revenue, as not everyone will check baggage or eat aboard an airplane — many people typically do have a need to access Wi-Fi in order to keep connected with the rest of the world.

The days of exorbitant long distance telephone charges are long gone, for the most part — and including Wi-Fi access to customers keeps them happy, potentially productive and occupied during delays or while waiting for the departure of a flight…

…but that certainly does not give anyone the right to “steal” a service — no matter how entitled that person might believe that he or she is to access to that service — depending on what is your definition of the word steal.

Screen shot ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Stealing Wi-Fi If Rolling Back the Clock on the Computer For More Time?”

  1. Steve says:

    I would be VERY surprised if it works. The DHCP server that leased you your airport IP address has a lease time of whatever its owners wanted, such as the 1 hour in this example. It also has your MAC address to prevent second signups, which can be spoofed but spoofing MAC is beyond the ability of all but a very few travelers.

    With the ability to turn most smartphones into personal hot spots and the big boost in added security that gives, I’d be surprised if suggestions like turning back the clock aren’t anything other than click bait.

  2. NB says:

    Rolling the clock back to trick a system to giving you something to which you are not entitled is obtaining that service by deception. Fraud in other words.

    And I would absolutely agree that, just because you would like it to be free, it doesn’t mean it’s ok to obtain it by deception.

    Finally, I’m really not sure why it should be free. The provision of wi-fi costs money, just as the provision of electricity costs money. Whilst the cost per unit that people take is miniscule and therefore hardly worth charging for, you could say the same for a checked bag or, indeed, a cup of coffee from a coffee shop.

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