Using a fake name onlineRawpixel.com/Shutterstock
When you’re trying to protect your information online, it seems a lot smarter to create a fake name than giving away any real details about yourself. But while you might be safe from hackers, you might not be safe from the law. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has a stipulation that says you can’t use a computer “without authorized access,” which can include not following a site’s terms of service, according to NPR. It would depend on the site’s policy, but if you actually bother reading the fine print, you’ll probably see a line agreeing not to provide false information. Famously, one Rhode Island prison guard famously had to pay a $500 fine for setting up a fake Facebook page of his boss. The state has since revoked its law against “use of fraudulent information,” though. Here are more of the dumbest laws in every state.
You probably know you shouldn’t steal your neighbor’s Wi-Fi, but logging onto the free Wi-Fi from a Starbucks you’re passing seems innocent enough. In reality, though, it’s not. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 laid out laws against hacking, but it’s just vague enough that even low-level Wi-Fi theft could get you arrested. One Michigan man was even fined $400 and given 40 hours of community service in 2007 for connecting to a café’s Internet without paying for anything. He’d been piggybacking its free Wi-Fi during his lunch breaks for more than a week, according to FOX News. These days, now that most Wi-Fi is password-protected, you could probably argue your way out of a fine, but there haven’t been enough court cases to set a clear standard, according to Wired. Legal or not, find out why you should never use public Wi-Fi.