It’s actually pretty sad that we need to discuss this, as one might think that this has been resolved by now. But it seems like the issue of using or not using an unencrypted wifi access point is something that is still being debated. While articles like this indicate that there are really no specific laws in question at risk of being broken, I find it difficult to believe that state and local laws are still not clear on this yet.
So the question remains – should we feel confident in simply connecting to our neighbor’s wifi? The short answer is a qualified no. Qualified in that it would be something where it is always best to lean into the possibility that there may be local laws at work here. Besides, would you want someone connecting to your wifi access point if you were in fact ignorant to the possibility of others accessing it? I think many people might find this to be the case.
Generally speaking, the only time I suspect anyone is going to have any issues with the law here is if they choose to park outside of someone’s home or businesses after hours, trying to connect. While most might be fine with this, the cops are likely going to question you and at best, ask you to move along once they determine you are not doing something potentially illegal on the network itself.