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Dubai Fatwa Forbids Leeching Off Neighbors' WiFi

Religious authorities in the United Arab Emirates have declared a fatwa against those who would piggyback on their neighbors’ wireless signal.

According to The National newspaper, the decree came from a scholar for the Fatwa hotline of the Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments.

First, he addressed that which is outright illegal. “Some people steal it from other countries, and that is considered a direct damage to public money and therefore 100 per cent forbidden,” he said.

Then came the gray area of jumping on the next-door WiFi.

“Morally and ethically, one should not use the Wi-Fi of their neighbors without informing them because it could weaken their network and it is under their property rights,” the scholar said.

“If we were to determine if it was religiously forbidden or not, we have to look at the privacy and usage laws, and if the extra usage would result in additional expenses for the neighbor.”

If a secure WiFi account is hacked, which is against the law in the UAE, it “is not permissible at all,” he said. “It is like crossing the property rights of others.”

The fatwa hotline accepts queries that, if answered, are posted on the website of the Dubai Islamic Affairs ­Department, according to The National.

“There is nothing wrong in ­using the line if your neighbors allow you to do so, but if they don’t allow you, you may not use it,” the fatwa said.