Some people say that Fon´s 15 minute free surfing is easy to hack by using fake e mails, validating fake e mails, spoofing macs.  Well a lot of systems on the internet are easy to hack in that way.  Facebook for example removes thousands of people per week who sign up with fake identities.  But why would an “evil” person do all this and in any case watch a wifiad every 15 minutes when there´s so many open wifi hotspots in the world?  Why bother realy.  The 15 minutes generate money for bills, and it makes everyone aware of Fon.  Before we introduced the free 15 minutes very few people knew about Fon and this is a way to at least test the community.  Foneros want more coverage and the 15 minutes trial is increasing registrations and coverage.  And on top of this we are monitoring closely for this type of abuse and we have not seen it.  Plus all foneros are protected cause they enter Fon through a WPA key and the public Fon network is monitored as used by others.

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Matias on June 25, 2007  · 

I want to share. I used to leave my wifi open. Fon is much more secure than that. I don’t care about the 15m and the people who r making a fuzz about this are not foneros.

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Martin Varsavsky on June 25, 2007  · 

Fon is working on tunneling technology to tunnel the traffic of each alien. We r doing this because it is a requirement of the UK when u pass 10k hotspots.

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Daniel on June 25, 2007  · 

Well, thats good good news. I hope it’s going to be implementated globally.

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ex-fonero on June 25, 2007  · 

ok, tunneling sounds great, also in Germany.
Could you please, put some details into the german board/blog?

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Thorsten on June 26, 2007  · 

Quote: I don’t care about the 15m and the people who r making a fuzz about this are not foneros.

I would love to think so, but of course of the german law i am not able to think this way.

I would love free and anonymous wifi, but i can’t because if i give anonymous wifi to others i always stand with
one of my legs in prison and with the other one at the end of my finances.

We german foneros would be hapyy, if we needn’t to act like this, but the law is against us and the idea of free and anonymous internetaccess.

For example ingermany you are on duty to register even your prepaid phones with your identity card, so there can’t be anonymous use of the mobile phone as well.

If someone is doing illegal stuff with your wifi-hot spot, then you as the owner of the hotspot are in first line respnsible for what happened on your line. So if an alien accesses content like illegal porn, then the police stand in front of the Foneros door, if the police stand in front of your door, because an alien accessed illegal porn, then the foneros reputation in the neighborhood is below zero.

So we risk a lot, if we support fon and we support fon, because we love the idea, but and i think that is the special point we need even a small feeling of security to be able to tell the authorities: “Oh it wasn’t me who accessed it, it was the alien with the username “xy”” and the authorities may contact Fon.

But if the aliens are now able to access our fonspots even with faked emailadresses and no way of real identification, like Credit Card,Paypal or Mobile Phone, then it become much more dangerous for us.

So i am sure i am speaking for much of the german foneros, WE love the idea of Fon, WE would love to continue like all the time, BUT we need some security and wen need Fon to act in our interests for security.

Thank you and still hoping, that there will be a solution very soon.

By the way: The Tunneling of Alientraffic over Fonservers would be the very best solution and i am sure if you do so, then there will be much more Foneros in Germany.


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Martin Varsavsky on June 26, 2007  · 


What about all the Germans who leave their wifi open, are they all going to jail? With Fon I can show that somebody else connected. Show me one case of a fonero who got into trouble! Absurd.

Holger Wiemann on June 26, 2007  · 

Sorry Martin,

this is not absurd; it’s sad reality in Germany. Please, find someone who can translate German to your native language and let him read the link

where someone was sentenced since she has driven an open and unsecured WLAN router which wased used by someone anonymous to un-legal share music.
Of course this is seldom but, please, respect the fear and legal concerns of German foneros and don’t blame them to be fool. That we do not see more Foneras in the lake near “monte de el Pardo” can be related that most Fon users are not aware of the unsecure access problem at their devices.

Keep fighting for your great idea,
Holger W.

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Thorsten on June 26, 2007  · 


luckily until now i can’t show you one Fonero getting in trouble, but
this is a question of time, and so we should work on this, that it remains
like that.

Well i am kind of disappointed, that you call these sorrows just absurd, these are
sorrows which exist and these are not only my sorrows, so it shouldn’t be worth just
an Absurd.

Well not ALL Germans who keeps their Wifi open are going to jail of course, but
in the latest courts there were decisions which gave people who left their Wifi open
the so-called “Mitstörerhaftung” (Along-Disturber-Debt) It was a decision of the
Landgericht Hamburg in even a civil question. Here a link to a report about this decision in german:

You are right with Fon you are able to show, that someone used the Fonspot, but if the Wifi:Ads can be used
without a real verfication, THEN you can’t show WHO. Shall we really wait UNTIL one fonero will get in trouble
or doesn’t you think, that we should act now and deny this scenario?

Yours sincerly

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Ignacio Martinez on June 26, 2007  · 

Why la fonera doesn’t support WDS? It is ridiculous tu have la fonera connected to my dd-wrt router using a cable.

Ignacio Martinez from Tucuman Argentina


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Martin Varsavsky on June 27, 2007  · 


I don’t believe in a society in which individuals dennounce each other that you propose as that sounds East German comunist to me. It is not the role of the Fonero to send people to jail for say downloading a movie, a Fonero has sufficient proof to show a judge that it was not her/him who was connected.

Martin Varsavsky on June 27, 2007  · 


I am flying from san fran to madrid and don’t have translation available now. Will look this up and see it, but I sincerely doubt that if a Fonero has clear evidence presented by Fon that a user with a mac address that is different from the Fonero mac and who enters from the fon signal and not the WPA encrypted signal did the same thing that the judge would sentence the Fonero. This defies any concept of justice that I can think of. Open wifi is a problem cause u have no proof.

andy werner on June 27, 2007  · 

This is absurd. Are mobile operators responsible for kidnapping threats made over their networks? Are transit organizations liable for damages incurred by reckless driving on their highways?

I agree, the fonero is the first _accountable_ person in line. That doesn`t make him guilty.

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Christoph on June 27, 2007  · 

sorry but i really do not agree with the “east german comunist method” you suspect Thorsten et al want to reach. It’s not the point that one user wants to bring another user in jail. It’s simply jurisdiction that – in order to protect someone – limits the freedom of somebody else.
What that basically means from a theoretical legal standpoint is that, in order to protect someone from criminals (typical example: try to defeat child pornography, which means protecting children from being sexually exploited from anonymous child pornography buyers), so in order to protect them, other peoples have to restrict their own rights (like anonymous surfing).

It’s always a trade-off between two just cases (your personal freedom vs. someone else’s protection).

Anyway, thats the idea behind it. I used to live in Germany, now I live in Italy and the Internet Access Regulation here is just as though as it is in Germany. Even thougher for what I kno. Us Foneros in Italy *DO* really live with one leg in the jail already. There’s tens of thousands of hotels in italy that will give you free internet wifi access. But you will not even find one single hotel that will give you free wifi access without registration. That’s because we are all required by legislation to track session data matched with a physical person. If I cannot prove who the other person was, than jurisdiction takes it for granted that it was me, or at least convicts me for helping criminals.

Event without the 15min free surfing, that means with the requirement of a real registration, I am not really doing something really legal in Italy (providing free fon access), since we are not logging detailled session data. But being a fonero I accepted this illegal situation. I felt only a toe in jail, not more.

But with the free 15min access, i really start to be afraid. A real anonymous person can use my hotspot. There’s a saying in Italy: “in front of the judge and in high sea, you’re in god’s hand”. A state prosecutor will have no difficulty in argumenting that, if something illegal was done from my fonera’s free access, that it was me, using a modified MAC address to fake that it was somebody else. A judge will be able to follow that argumentation.

Me, and many fonero friends, feel really afraid by this anonymous surfing possibility. I really urge you to discuss this with serious legal support in some of the european countries (Germany, Italy, etc).

It’s not that I want to protect this legislation or event that i want to push what you called “east german comunist” methods, I really and simply am afraid that things might turn against me.

Christoph from South Tyrol/Italy.

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Christian von der Ropp on June 28, 2007  · 


In Germany owners of unsecured hotspots are liable (as “Störer”) for copyright violations and other legal violations even of strangers and even if they don’t notice anything and don’t know about the possibility of others being able to access their hotspot.

As happend in the verdict of the Hamburg district court linked above, people will not be hold liable for committing a violation, but for running an unsecured hotspots and so enabling someone else’s violation. So Germans are liable even if they can prove it was someone else.

ISPs and Telcos can’t be hold liable because they do log exactly (not only DNS-queries and MAC-addresses like FON) and further they’re obliged to run interfaces, through which authorities can immediatley put a trace on a certain user. FON can’t do that and so FON won’t be treated like an ISP.

best regards,


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Carsten on July 13, 2007  · 

Very sad, but true Martin. Just to keep you updated, this “new” court decision makes it really viral to implement at least the SMS authentitication system in germany.

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Goetz on July 18, 2007  · 

Hello Martin,

Fonera online again! Thanks for the SMS authentication!

Great job from your team!

Regards from Germany

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Goetz on July 18, 2007  · 

Hi Martin,

Thanks for the SMS authentication in Germany! I have my Fonera back online.

Great Job!


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Martin Varsavsky on July 19, 2007  · 

Thank you Goetz!

Alessandro on July 20, 2007  · 

Just a little contribute to describe how is the situation in Italy:
the police trace the IP of the internet connection that made sometihng bad, ask to the ISP the address of the user and the day after they arrive at the home of the user at 6.00 am, bring the pc to their office for further investigations and possibily conducts the user to the jail, not forgeting to give the name to the papers.
After some days, the user has the possibility to ask the judge to ask to to give the logs of that fonera…. As you can see, a lot of troubles….
The best should be that every user connected to the public signal goes to the internet with a fon-IPclass, not the same of the fonero. It seems to me that fon is already going in this direction….

De todo modo, siguo pensando que fon es una lindissima idea!

Regards, Alessandro.

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sofia on November 14, 2007  · 

[…]thank you all for the comments and what the best of activate in short time.

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denny on November 13, 2008  · 


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