In an unusual move, the government of Dubai has issued a fatwa against people who try to logon and use other people’s Wi-Fi networks for free without permission. An anonymous user posted a question to the Modern Fatwa section of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD) – a government agency website for Dubai’s Islamic populace – asking whether it was acceptable to use other people’s private Wi-Fi without their knowledge.
The Modern Fatwa section can only be accessed by members of the website, but according to UAE news site What’s On, IACAD responded: “It is not allowed for people to use what belongs to others without payment or without their permission.
Therefore, the Internet should be used only after subscribing for the service.” The explanation is that if people piggyback on a user’s Wi-Fi network, they reduce internet speed for them, which affects the service that the rightful fee-payer receives. The IACAD also emphasised that the fatwa would not affect people using open, public Wi-Fi networks, designed to be shared by multiple users. What is a Fatwa?
According to the Islamic Supreme Council of America (ISCA), a ‘fatwa’ is an Islamic legal pronouncement issued by a “mufti” (an expert in religious law) in order to resolve an issue where Islamic jurisprudence (“fiqh”) isn’t clear. However, a fatwa is not binding and is optional for the individual to decide to respect