The Instigator
clarkmcc
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
themohawkninja
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

Should Cities Offer Free Public Wi-Fi?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
themohawkninja
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/6/2013 Category: Technology
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,011 times Debate No: 40053
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

clarkmcc

Con

This topic poses an interesting innovation with some benefits and problems. It allows every person to hitch in, and be constantly connected, but this poses a few problems:

1. Hackers have a very efficient way to get personal information from anybody on the grid.

2. This takes away the need for cell companies, because non-3G smart devices can call and Text from Wi-Fi

The biggest problem would be the first, hacking. It would be very easy to hack such a public network. Even the pentagon has been hacked and the security present there is astronomical (http://talkingpointsmemo.com...).

To end, the problems are bigger then the benefits.
themohawkninja

Pro

"Hackers have a very efficient way to get personal information from anybody on the grid."

How so is it efficient? You don't cite anything to show how hackers have a system that is efficient at getting personal information that is "on the grid". Secondly, hackers make up a very small part of the population. The highest number of hackers per capita is in the Virgin Islands at only 0.0046% [1].

"This takes away the need for cell companies, because non-3G smart devices can call and Text from Wi-Fi."

That is a false statement, as the user will still have to pay for the data (voice or text). To quote PC Mag: "...text messaging ... is offered for a flat monthly fee or on a per-message basis" [2].

"Even the pentagon has been hacked and the security present there is astronomical"

Well of course the Pentagon would get hacked, as it's a massive target for hackers because of all the data it stores unlike the average person who clearly doesn't have access to such data. Furthermore, in the case you cited was most likely done by the Chinese government. To quote another site about the same topic: "...the information could give China a jump start in developing advanced weapons systems of its own" [3]. Clearly, the people that got into the Pentagons' databases weren't just some petty hackers, but part of a massive government organization.

"To end, the problems are bigger then the benefits."

I would assert that said statement is false. Many schools are adopting wi-fi in order to allow students to hand in homework faster, and increase the level of information available to the students. A notable example of this is the Murrieta Valley Unified School District. To quote a local news agency: "As part of a pilot project last year, two Earhart algebra classes used iPads instead of textbooks. In the iPad classes, 78 percent of students scored in the proficient or advanced ranges on last spring"s state test, compared to only 59 percent of their peers with the same two teachers using textbooks from the same publisher" [4]. This benefit, in combination with the lack of your asserted drawbacks means that cities should offer free public wi-fi.

1. http://battlelog.battlefield.com... (The information is derived from an anti-cheating program for video games called Punkbuster. A forum user displayed the results).
2. http://www.pcmag.com...
3. http://www.theverge.com...
4. http://www.pe.com...
Debate Round No. 1
clarkmcc

Con

"How so is it efficient?"

Type into Google search: "how to hack public network", and tell me how many results come up. Check this out:
http://www.livescience.com...

Public network hacking is becoming easier by the second, plug-ins that sit in your browser and retrieve passwords from any cookie it can find.

"That is a false statement, as the user will still have to pay for the data (voice or text)."

Not so. Apparently you do not have an iPod or similar device. I have an app that gives a phone number and you can text for free from a Wi-Fi network, no charge. It seems your response was without evidence.

"I would assert that said statement is false. Many schools are adopting wi-fi in order to allow students to hand in homework faster..."

Keep in mind that this debate is titled, and I quote, "Should Cities Offer Free Public Wi-Fi?". Schools all over permit electronic devices and have Wi-Fi networks, but Wi-Fi hotpots that run an entire cities is a different story.

I would like to point out that the majority of your sources are forums which include peoples opinion.

Fantastic debate, look forward to the finish!
themohawkninja

Pro

"Public network hacking is becoming easier by the second, plug-ins that sit in your browser and retrieve passwords from any cookie it can find."

That plug-in you cited was designed for the purpose of improving Internet security. Secondly, you have yet to refute my statement that such assertions that the threat of hacking is a negligible one due to the fact that less than one half of one hundredth of one percent of the population of the country with the highest per capita rate of hackers are in-fact hackers.

"Not so. Apparently you do not have an iPod or similar device. I have an app that gives a phone number and you can text for free from a Wi-Fi network, no charge. It seems your response was without evidence."

I did site a source (source two of the previous round) unlike your case which alleged a personal statement without proving it, nor showing how your case is applicable to the masses.

"Keep in mind that this debate is titled, and I quote, "Should Cities Offer Free Public Wi-Fi?". Schools all over permit electronic devices and have Wi-Fi networks, but Wi-Fi hotpots that run an entire cities is a different story."

The only difference is the size and the age demographic. Secondly, that specific school was part of a city school district. Lastly, why would a school's wi-fi be significantly different than a city's? Both have computers, both have people that own credit cards and other such information that can be accessed via hacking, and both aren't very secure.

"I would like to point out that the majority of your sources are forums which include peoples opinion."

-Source one is from the output of a program that just so happens to be on a forum.
-Source two is an encyclopedia of definitions on an award winning magazine website.
-Source three is a news agency
-Source four is a local news agency

Note that the latter two were of the same type of source that you used on your point about the Pentagon being hacked, and only by technicality was one of my sources a forum.
Debate Round No. 2
clarkmcc

Con

The only difference is the size and the age demographic."That plug-in you cited was designed for the purpose of improving Internet security."

"Firesheep is a tool that makes it easy for its user to assume (hijack) the identity of other users on a number of popular websites." See link below -
https://onehub.com...

Hijacking some bodies identity does not sound like something that protects your network.

"I did site a source (source two of the previous round) unlike your case which alleged a personal statement without proving it, nor showing how your case is applicable to the masses."

Excuse me, yes you did cite a source, but of course you have to pay for cell data usage. I use this app. Text is free, pay 99 cents per 100 minutes of talk time through Wi-Fi. See site below.

http://www.textnow.com...

"The only difference is the size and the age demographic."

That statement is true, but first of all, I don't buy stuff from amazon.com while I'm at school, so my passwords do not cross that network. Second, there's more hackers in a city than in a school, hence it increases that liability. There are also more hit points or people on the network.
themohawkninja

Pro

"Firesheep is a tool that makes it easy for its user to assume (hijack) the identity of other users on a number of popular websites."

Correct, but as I stated, citing your original source: "Created by Eric Butler, a Seattle-based freelance Web application developer, Firesheep was not built to be deployed maliciously, Butler said, but rather to illuminate the rampant security gaps at many popular websites and force those sites to enact stricter guidelines and encryption policies" [1].

"Excuse me, yes you did cite a source, but of course you have to pay for cell data usage. I use this app. Text is free, pay 99 cents per 100 minutes of talk time through Wi-Fi."

While you have shown that your texting service is free, you have yet to show how applicable that is. A little research shows that out of the over four billion people that text (as of 5/5/12), only as many as five million use (to be specific, installed) your cited service [2][3]. That equates to only 0.125 percent of all text messengers.

"That statement is true, but first of all, I don't buy stuff from amazon.com while I'm at school, so my passwords do not cross that network."

While you may not choose to buy things from websites while at school, it is possible for anyone to do so. Even though the site itself may be blocked, they can be accessed via proxy websites like flyflyhighsky [4].

"Second, there's more hackers in a city than in a school, hence it increases that liability. There are also more hit points or people on the network."

Just because the physical building terminates doesn't mean that the network itself terminates. One need only a wi-fi adapter and be within a reasonable distance to the source, and you can get connected. In a city, this point becomes even more apparent as there would be multiple schools with said hotspots.

When a wi-fi system is implemented, it's is basically the same for a school as it is a city. You have multiple routers in different places to cover a given area.

I would also question the assertion that it causes increased liability, as while the number of possible hotspots increases, the connectivity between computers decreases, as schools tend to have all of their computers networked so that a student can access their stored data from anywhere in the school [6].

Next, while you assert that there are more people, which is true, what effect would this have? You see, if we generalize the hacker to be a "predator" of sorts, whose "prey" is the soon-to-be victim of a hack, more targets might not be a good thing from the perspective of the hacker, as in nature "...guppies often school together in order to avoid predation" [5]. All of those IP addresses could make the task of hacking difficult, as while the hacker has many targets to choose from, it would be a daunting task to find out which one is the least protected, and/or has the most to steal.

Lastly, as you stated, a city is bigger than a school, which means that the city has more resources to spend on security measures. In some rural areas for example, police stations are only capable of being financially stable by intergovernmental agreements between counties, as they can't sustain such basic security by themselves [7]. If it is easier for a city to retain a police station than for a rural area to, then I would assert that a school (being much smaller than a city) would have less of an ability to provide Internet security than a city could. Therefore a city-wide scale would be safer than a school-wide scale.

1. http://www.livescience.com...
2. http://www.theguardian.com...
3. https://play.google.com...
4. http://flyflyhighsky.appspot.com...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
6. http://fcit.usf.edu...
7. http://www.pantagraph.com... is a tool that makes it easy for its user to assume (hijack) the identity of other users on a number of popular websites."
Debate Round No. 3
clarkmcc

Con

"Butler said, but rather to illuminate the rampant security gaps at many popular websites..."

Let me bring to your attention (if you have not heard this before), the hacker's definition of hacking, to take something and use it for something other then its intended purpose. Who cares if it is supposed to be used as a network testing tool, look up "Firesheep", and you'll get results on how to hack with it.

"...only as many as five million use (to be specific, installed) your cited service [2][3]..."

Thank you for pointing that out, not a lot of people use it now because they could only use it where they have Wi-Fi, if a city-wide network were to take place, this app would be in use, a lot more then it is now.

"Just because the physical building terminates doesn't mean that the network itself terminates."

Yes, that statement is true, but networks don't go that far outside the designated building, and this is done on purpose. Yes if you were on the grounds, this would be possible.

After future implications of technology, this would no longer be possible, as the network could exist only inside the building.
https://spie.org...
http://www.ted.com...



With more possible hit points in a city, there are more options to choose from.
http://whatis.techtarget.com...

As I have never used this software myself, I can only share what Eric Butler has said. In the attached screen shots (with the link above), it seems as if the plug-in automatically finds information and places it into an easy-to-use dialog. It's hard to believe it can get any easier than this for capturing information.
themohawkninja

Pro

"Let me bring to your attention (if you have not heard this before), the hacker's definition of hacking, to take something and use it for something other then its intended purpose. Who cares if it is supposed to be used as a network testing tool, look up "Firesheep", and you'll get results on how to hack with it."

Just as it has the potential to be used for hacking, it too has the potential to be used to increase website security, as all one needs to do is figure out how it hacks into sites, and then use that information to increase website security. When researching how Firesheep works, I have found that it works by utilizing the fact that many websites, while encrypting passwords, doesn't encrypt the cookie (a file that the website reads so that your information is pre-inputted in the textbox the next time you go to log on). However, this is fixed via SSL, and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates for websites can be purchased for as low as $64.95 per year [1][2]. Lastly, onion routing can be used to prevent such actions, as is used on .onion domains where illicit activity is done (e.g. the infamous Silk Road whose owner was recently arrested) [3][4][5].

"Thank you for pointing that out, not a lot of people use it now because they could only use it where they have Wi-Fi, if a city-wide network were to take place, this app would be in use, a lot more then it is now."

We can't be sure of that, as cell services provide unlimited texting for a flat monthly fee which people succumb to. Secondly, if 492 million households are estimated to use a wireless router to create to WLAN, or Wi-Fi home network already, and only .125% of those use your texting service, then that means that only approximately >1.75% of the entire world would use that free service if all 7+ billion people around the world had access to wi-fi, and that is making the obviously over-zealous assumption that one household equals one person [6].

"Yes, that statement is true, but networks don't go that far outside the designated building, and this is done on purpose. Yes if you were on the grounds, this would be possible."

Then in the end this helps my side, as this would further increase the level of security inside schools, which would mean that hackers would have less access to the information. On a city scale, this would mean that the only way for a hacker to successfully hack something would be to physically be inside the building with the wi-fi hotspot, thereby meaning that all city authorities need to do is match the IP address with the respective building, and they know where the hacker is.

"With more possible hit points in a city, there are more options to choose from."

I never denied that there would be more options, but as I did assert, more options may lead to an overwhelmingly large amount of traffic for the hacker to know what he/she should hack into.

"As I have never used this software myself, I can only share what Eric Butler has said."

I can share what he said as well, which I asserted earlier and just so happens to also be in that source you cited. To quote: "The only effective fix for this problem is full end-to-end encryption, known on the web as HTTPS or SSL". I have already explained the ease at which those solutions (amongst others) are acquired.

1. http://codebutler.com...
2. http://www.instantssl.com...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://www.forbes.com...
6. http://www.strategyanalytics.com...
Debate Round No. 4
clarkmcc

Con

"Just as it has the potential to be used for hacking, it too has the potential to be used to increase website security..."

I can't see why you are still stuck on this idea, my hammer can pound nails into walls, and it can smash fingers, people do both. Just because its intended purpose is for something good (pounding nails into walls), doesn't mean that it's always used as such (smashing fingers).

Firesheep is a cookie sniffer, and as such, for good or for bad, it finds and "steals" cookies. It does the same thing a hacking program would. It doesn't patch your website when it finds a vulnerability, it goes and finds cookies and that's it. Naturally, anybody trying to hack a public network would use this tool.

Just to emphasize my point, things are not always used as their intended purpose suggests they should. Again, look up Firesheep, and you will get more options to hack websites, then to save them. That should be a good enough proof to say, this is not as popular for its website protection. I now ask my opponent to deny this claim, but before he does so, should look up "Firesheep".

In fact, I took the liberty to look it up for you and here are the top results, from top to bottom:

1. When logging into a website you usually start by submitting your user name and password. The server then checks to see if an ... -

2. Firesheep is an extension for the Firefox web browser that uses a packet sniffer to intercept unencrypted cookies from websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

3. I hijacked a Facebook account with Firesheep; it was easy...

4. Firesheep. A Firefox extension that demonstrates HTTP session hijacking attacks.

5. ...Firesheep, the new Firefox browser add-on that lets amateurs hijack users...

6. ...firesheep - A Firefox extension that demonstrates HTTP session hijacking attacks.

7. Firesheep sniffs out and steals cookies—and the account and identity of the owner in the process—of popular web sites (like Facebook ...

8. While we can't exactly shine light on dark hearts, we can show you what it's like to use everyone's favorite hacker tool, Firesheep, to snoop on

https://www.google.com...

I would say that its hard to deny that the most popular use (at least on Google) is hijacking accounts.

"We can't be sure of that, as cell services provide unlimited texting for a flat monthly fee which people succumb to."

Okay sure, you can use it if you have cell coverage, but why not just use iMessage (in the case of Apple iPhones) which has a simpler user interface, and is more efficient.

"Then in the end this helps my side, as this would further increase the level of security inside schools"

This helps your case only with schools. Remember, a city wide Wi-Fi network. That means from anywhere in the city, shopping centers, restaurants, anywhere, you can link in. This helps my case in proving that a hacker could be in his bedroom and get passwords from any account on the Wi-Fi network.

"I never denied that there would be more options, but as I did assert, more options may lead to an overwhelmingly large amount of traffic for the hacker to know what he/she should hack into."

Yes, it would be, but nevertheless, for a hacker, I'd rather have more opportunities to hack then less.
themohawkninja

Pro

"I can't see why you are still stuck on this idea, my hammer can pound nails into walls, and it can smash fingers, people do both. Just because its intended purpose is for something good (pounding nails into walls), doesn't mean that it's always used as such (smashing fingers)."

As I had asserted, there are ways to block Firesheep from doing harm to a persons' information. While you list the steps for how Firesheep does what it does, I had already asserted how to keep it from doing that. SSL certificates and the Tor browser are two ways of bypassing these security issues.

"Okay sure, you can use it if you have cell coverage, but why not just use iMessage (in the case of Apple iPhones) which has a simpler user interface, and is more efficient."

Firstly, some people might be against the way Apple treats its workers [1]. Secondly, while I see little reason to not use such services, the fact of the matter is, is that people just don't use it, so the effect on the cell companies in practice would most likely be negligible.

"This helps your case only with schools. Remember, a city wide Wi-Fi network. That means from anywhere in the city, shopping centers, restaurants, anywhere, you can link in. This helps my case in proving that a hacker could be in his bedroom and get passwords from any account on the Wi-Fi network."

Again, I must point out (as stated in the previous round) that since the city is the one offering the wi-fi, the city could have a log of who has what IP address(es), thereby being able to pinpoint a hacker from where ever they are in the city.

"Yes, it would be, but nevertheless, for a hacker, I'd rather have more opportunities to hack then less."

While more opportunities are nice, you never refuted just how a hacker wouldn't be overwhelmed by all of the data just as predators are overwhelmed by the number of guppies in a school.

In conclusion, cities should offer free wi-fi, because the city could easily log the IP addresses of all of the users, allowing for easy tracing in case of hacking. Free wi-fi would benefit schools because of the fact that teachers would have constant access to the entire Internet. Lastly, free wi-fi would cause so many people to be on at one time, that a potential hacker could be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data.

1. http://www.theguardian.com...
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Fox32 3 years ago
Fox32
Hey Clarkmcc,

Well, the question is what is safe?

Using WifI, 3G, 4G or even directly connected with a cable can give security problems. The objective should be to lower the risks of unsafe browsing or usage of the internet.

A whole different variation comes when implementing IPsec with VPN tunnels from remote devices, these features are rare on handheld devices such as Smartphones or Tablets. On Laptops or computers these are lesser concerns.

Security responsibility for end users:

Its possible to encrypt your data into a higher degree and if you manage to supply your (sensitive) data via an VPN tunnel, then the odds are very small that you could have a security risk (the odd would be that a highly specialist network engineer/hacker would be around for cracking public ).
Posted by clarkmcc 3 years ago
clarkmcc
Those implementations would make this development a fantastic idea, but with our current technology, its hard to create a secure system
Posted by Fox32 3 years ago
Fox32
Here a my comments for the debate.

I support free WiFi usage and implementation in city's. However the ISP and the NSP should have the following standards before implementing:

* Security technological standard with compatible hardware that supports:
- Data encryption (This makes it difficult for 'hackers'.
- IPv6 support only (This makes it difficult for 'hackers', for the knownledge of Ipv6 is low).
- Anti-mac address spoofing.
- Blocks DDOS ports and DDOS protection/detection support.

* For fair-policy usages:
- Users should have a bandwith limitation on the overal bandwith capacity (this reduces the chance of
creating a slow network).
- Support for having problems is Best effort, and no rights are to be hold in cases of failure
- Users should be informed of the risks of free WiFi

Cellphone providers:

Its possible that Cellphone provider deliver WiFi via WiMax or other frequency, for there using 3G or 4G connections. Which is different frequency support.

On the same signal masts where the GSM/3G/4G takes operation, its possible to build/place new WiFi devices to provide free WiFi. However this investment for free WiFi has no ROI (Return of investment). So the question is:

Who is going to pay the fee for providing free WiFi, and who is responsible for the ownership of that services?

ISP and NSP would't do that, because they don't see any cash flow generated from the service, so cost should be payed by the population or taxes.

Investments:

* Cost are
- Bandwith supply via Fiber, Coax or DSL.
- Maintenance costs.
- Hardware implementation and engineer costs.

My request is if the debaters would debate these following points.
Posted by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
Solid and interesting debate.

Conduct was equal enough, as was S&G. Sourcing was roughly equivalent.

Which brings us to arguments:

Rather than focusing on a cost/benefit ratio or talking about the expense of such a system, Con focused on hacking and cell-usage. He gave no reason that we should *care* if cell companies go out of business, and Pro refuted it anyway by pointing out that while it may be possible, it's unlikely to affect cell usage. The hacking point is largely irrelevant, frankly--hackers can as easily hack home wifi, so the prima facie case is more against ALL wifi, rather than the specific case of wifi provided by the city, but even then Pro addressed the argument on its merits, showing that hacking was unlikely to be a problem. By rebutting all of Con's arguments, Pro demonstrated Con's failure to support his original contention that "the problems are bigger then the benefits". With that as a failure, Con has not fulfilled his BoP, and Pro wins arguments.

As always, happy to clarify anything in this RFD.
Posted by clarkmcc 3 years ago
clarkmcc
Wonderful debate. Enjoyed it the entire time!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
clarkmccthemohawkninjaTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.