I don’t have “real” internet in the apartment. I use a T-Mobile hotspot that has a 10gb a month limit. I bought it when I was out of the country for pretty much a whole month, and knew I needed to be able to check email and write posts. It works pretty well, so I decided to just keep it instead of paying Comcast or Verizon big money for the same thing.
Unfortunately, I ran out of internet on Monday night.
It isn’t really a big deal, it just means that I am going to make the 5 minute drive to where I work, use the internet there for a few minutes from inside the car, and then drive back. I have permission to use the internet there even after work hours. It is really just inconvenient, not really a serious problem.
Here’s the thing. I found out about a month ago that one of my neighbors has an unlocked network, and I can get on pretty much anytime I chose to. I found out by accident, when a desktop I don’t often use suddenly installed updates when I didn’t have my hotspot turned on. It had connected to a network with the same name before, and connected itself without my intervention in the apartment.
Again not really a big deal.
The thing is that right now I am sitting here and thinking about my neighbors open network again. It would be so easy to connect to their router, and upload my post for the day without having to go out in the wind and cold again. “I am trying to do a good thing, surely they wouldn’t mind. Anyways isn’t it their responsibility to lock their wi-fi if they don’t want anyone else to use it?”
It is so easy to justify our actions.
It is so easy to overlook our own wrong doing if we can’t see the victim of our crimes. It is so easy to convince ourselves that we aren’t REALLY doing anything wrong. It’s just wi-fi. Everyone does it!
The thing is, our actions can have unintended and unexpected consequences. Maybe using my neighbors wi-fi would be perfectly acceptable. They may not ever even find out. Or maybe by using their connection, I’ll cause them to drop an important skype call, or they will miss out on a connection with their cousin on facetime. Maybe they have left their network open so they can steal personal data from people who use it. Or maybe they have a data limit too and I could put them over! The options are endless.
It doesn’t really matter if there would be consequences or not. What matters is that I do not have permission to use their connection, and to do so without their permission is theft. Even if it is such a seemingly small and victimless crime, it is wrong.
Sometimes we need to expand our perspective and look outside of our own borders to find a way to encourage peace in the world.
Sometimes we just need to look inside ourselves.
If we work to correct our own misdeeds, we are one step closer to leaving in peace with each other.
Now I just have to work on all the other things that I am guilty of wrongdoing in.