Theft it seems, isn’t just about the physical and tangible things anymore. Take WiFi for instance. You know, those invisible signals that allow you to browse the internet and check up on social media?
Religious authorities are finally taking a look at classifying the stealing of personal WiFi network signals as a crime.
Stealing WiFi is a Crime
A fatwa has been filed against using anyone’s internet Wi-Fi connection without their consent by the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) in Dubai, UAE. This seems like the first reported incident of its kind.
It is stated in the fatwa that people are not allowed to use anything without the permission of the owner, or without any sort of payment. Simply put, an internet service cannot be used without the owner’s knowledge.
The reasoning behind the argument was that illegal usage of internet packages negatively affects the rightful owner of the connection. Non-consented usage will reduce the internet speed and deplete the available data. If too many people start sharing the connection, they are depriving the original user of the data volume and/or speed that they paid for.
The fatwa was issued when someone asked a question on the Islamic Affairs department (IACAD) website. In the IACAD’s modern fatwas section, the question asked was ‘whether it is alright to use someone’s Wi-Fi connection without their consent?’
Bear in mind, this fatwa does not apply to the use of open Wi-Fi hosted by institutions and restaurants etc. which are there for public usage. However, it remains to be seen if other religious schools of thought will push out similar rulings in order to create awareness about WiFi theft as a crime.
But fatwa or no fatwa, stealing someone’s internet certainly seems like depriving one of their valuables, especially considering how much we’ve come to rely on it in our daily lives.