Law expert: Hacking WIFI password = crime

One, who hacks his neighbor’s internet access by cracking his Wi-Fi password, is liable for cybercrime of illegal access. Internet connection is part of the computer system, accessing of which without a right is punishable as a cybercrime under RA No. 10175.

Moreover, the hacker can be held liable for theft. In the case of Laurel vs. Abrogar, G.R. No. 155076, January 13, 2009, personal property the taking of which is an element of theft includes intangible property. As early as 1910, the Supreme Court declared in U.S vs. Genato, G.R. No. L-5197, February 10, 1910 that ownership over electricity (which an international long-distance call consists of), as well as telephone service, is protected by the provisions on theft of the Penal Code. Thus, accessing wireless internet connection without consent of the person to whom it belongs constitutes unlawful taking.

The hacker can also be held liable for the crime of access device fraud under RA No. 8484. But RA No. 10515, which punishes interception of cable internet system, is not applicable since a WiFi internet connection is a cableless internet system. According to Palmer Mallari, a cybercrime expert, in 2013 when RA No. 10515 was enacted, the use of wireless internet system was not yet widespread in the Philippines. Hence, interception of wireless internet system was not included in the law.

SOURCE: Marlo Campanilla. Hacking Wireless Internet Connection. Monday, December 31, 2018.