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8/30/2006
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California Considers Wi-Fi Protection Bill

The legislation would require manufacturers to choose one of four ways to protect consumers. The goal is to educate people to help prevent intruders from piggybacking onto their Wi-Fi connections.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a bill that would require manufacturers of wireless routers to warn buyers against failing to secure their networks.

The bill, written by Calif. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, tries to prevent an intruder from "piggybacking" on someone else's Wi-Fi Internet connection. Studies show many consumers configure routers without implementing security mechanisms to prevent unauthorized use. Such measures would include requiring an ID and password.

The bill was sent to the governor after passing the Assembly on Tuesday. The Senate approved the bill earlier.

The legislation would require manufacturers to choose one of four ways to protect consumers. A sticker could be placed on the ports of the router, a warning could be included during the configuration process, or consumers could be required to take some form of action indicating they know security measures have not been activated. Manufacturers also could opt to enable security without action by the consumer.

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