With the disclosure that everyone and their uncle is spying on us I thought this reoccurring subject in my courses was very appropriate to share today.
My students have frequently commented that they have given access to their network and Internet connection to their renters.
While this is a very nice gesture and perk for your tenant, do you know the risks involved with doing this? Many of my students don’t. Perhaps you don’t either.
Understand that the Internet connection from your ISP is linked to your name and account. You are the responsible party. That means that if anyone does anything illegal on the connection or while using the connection, you are responsible. (Read your ISPs Terms of Service!)
Now, let’s say you have a tenant who doesn’t like to pay for movies or music and is constantly pirating them. Perhaps they even have some illegal music or movie file sharing program installed on their device that allows other connected users to download the pirated content also. Who do you think is going to receive the dreaded letter from the ISP with the warning to discontinue the activity as well as the hefty fine for the illegal content? Certainly not your tenant! You will because it’s your connection – you are legally responsible.
And if you don’t think it can’t happen, a very close friend of mine had that EXACT thing happen when their niece was staying over the summer a few years ago. The young lady had been set up as a guest on the family network. My friend received a letter from her ISP warning her she would lose her Internet connection permanently along with a letter from the motion picture industry group fining her for the illegal download of the movie. This wasn’t a tenant but a visiting family member so you can imagine how much more damage a stranger could do.
So let’s say this renter isn’t a pirating junkie. What if he/she is a pedophile?
The public network address on your pedophile tenant is the same as yours. So when the feds come to collect the child pornographers, they’re picking you up as well as your tenant. In fact, depending upon where your tenant is located, they might even miss them during the first arrest! So there goes your computer and other electronic devices as the feds confiscate them for forensic evidence.
While you will eventually be found innocent and your devices found clean, what is the damage you’ll be left to deal with in the meantime? You could lose your job just because of the suspicion. If you have children, your children could be removed from the home pending the outcome of the investigation. The thought of this nightmare alone should make you rethink sharing your Internet connection with anyone!
The same is true with not securing your wireless connection which allows your neighbors to jump on and use your connection. Anyone – family member, tenant, or stranger – using your Internet connection puts you at legal and financial risk.
With the government and technology companies spying on us, as well as law enforcement agencies monitoring for illegal activities, do you really want to expose yourself to such liability? Think about it.
Image Source: MorgueFile.com