Warchalking? It's marking places where you get a WiFi signal

by Guy Kewney | posted on 26 June 2002

Most people don't protect their wireless access points from odd visitors; but finding where these open access points are, is complex. Traditionally, Netstumbler was used to spot them. Now, there may be a better way.

Guy Kewney

The idea of "warchalking seems to have been dreamed up by Matt Jones (according to a story from ZDNet UK) who started a weblog with suggestions for how one could mark street corners with chalk signs, showing what type of wireless Internet access was available.

His first suggested design can be seen on his booming web site at - or you can print it from here.

<1/> Print, cut out, keep in your wallet!

The idea attracted the normal crackpot interest; it got slash-dotted, where it seems the established WiFi anarchists at Consume.Net are somewhat out of joint in the nose department. One of them actually condemned the idea in the slashdot forums, on the grounds that it would seem to be encouraging illegal access to other people's computers.

The Mobile Campaign is delighted to endorse the idea. Most of us don't use a fraction of our full Web bandwidth, and sharing it with the odd passer-by is not going to be a significant strain on our ADSL link. And if it means we can pick up access points when we're out and about, that seems like fair exchange.