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Granite State making peace with 'war driving'

New Hampshire may tell folks to "Live Free Or Die," but it's about to tell wireless network owners to "Secure Well or Else."

The state of New Hampshire is known for being the first stop on the presidential campaign trail, and for telling folks to "Live free or die."

That's about it.

So the Granite State isn't as famous (or infamous) as, say, the Golden State, but soon this sliver of New England may become a hotbed for "war driving."

Uber-populated, high-tech areas like Manhattan and San Francisco may seem like more fertile ground for war driving, the practice of looking for and taking advantage of open wireless access points. But New Hampshire lawmakers are working on a bill that says owners of wireless networks must properly secure their networks or cede some rights. Only those who take the proper precautions will be able to prosecute those who improperly access them.

Secure well, or cede.

Under the bill, failure to secure a wireless network will be seen as a form of negligence.

If the bill becomes law, a person who accesses an improperly secured network could get off scot-free by arguing that he thought the network was meant to be open.

According to the bill's sponsors, the intent of the law isn't to make New Hampshire a safe harbor for war driving but to protect people who innocently stumble onto insecure wireless networks.

Now, New Hampshire has long had a libertarian, take-care-of-yourself streak. War drivers may see the new law as very much in keeping with that philosophy. Wireless network owners, though, who will be saddled with more responsibility, may feel like they're being taken for, ahem, Granite.

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