On March 31 2009 the Turku Court of Appeal confirmed a ruling of the District Court of Salo in a matter where an IT professional had repeatedly exploited a neighbour's unprotected wireless local area network (WLAN) connection without consent.(1) Both courts held that the intentional unauthorized use of a neighbour's WLAN connection constitutes petty unauthorized use under Chapter 28, Section 9 of the Penal Code and is thus subject to a fine.

As grounds, the Court of Appeal stated, among other things, that although a connection to a neighbour's base station might be made accidentally, after becoming aware of this situation the unauthorized user must immediately disconnect in order to avoid penal liability. The court also stated that the defendant must have been aware of the fact that the use of the connection was unauthorized and harmful to the subscriber to the connection. The defendant did not have justified grounds to assume that, because the connection was unprotected, implied consent had been given for its use. The court further ruled that the fact that the defendant had repeatedly used the neighbour's connection indicated that the conduct was intentional.

For further information on this topic please contact Sakari Aalto at Roschier Attorneys Ltd by telephone (+358 20 506 6000) or by fax (+358 20 506 6100) or by email ([email protected]).

Endnotes

(1) Decision 2009/793.