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Let's say if my neighbor keeps his/her wifi-network security open and my wifi settings are set to automatically connect to open wireless networks as they don't need any key to access.

Then considering USA jurisdiction am I committing a crime given that I don't have any permission from my neighbor to do that.

And given this situation as an analogy, How is it different from breaking or more suitably just roaming into a house or property without doing any sort of damage, given that it was not secured or left unattended for a while.

  • Which state d'you want to know about? – jimsug Nov 8 '15 at 11:53
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Depends on where you are. It's called piggybacking and its legality varies state to state (and possibly even county to county). You might not get caught, but if you do the penalties may include a fine or a custodial sentence.

For example, you might find yourself doing this in, say, New York - you would probably not run into legal issues there, provided you had no information to suggest your access was unauthorised.

Different laws and principles apply to trespass to land, which exists to vindicate your right to exclusive use and enjoyment of your property - you can't enter someone else's land except where consent is implied. For example, if you have an unlocked front gate and a path that leads up to the front of the house, you'd be able to walk up to it for the purpose of going to the front door to visit. On the other hand, you probably would not be entitled to swim in the backyard pool, or enter the house, even if the gate/door was unlocked - but it'd depend on the specific case.

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