Aaron Swartz was interviewed for the BBC World Service's Newshour program on the subject of Warchalking.

Download an MP3 or Ogg Vorbis recording of the show.

BBC: Now in the dim and distant past... ...you could get out of paying your phone bill with wire cutters and small clamps. All illegal of course... ...but those who knew how could tap into the system without the bother or wait of a costly connection. Well now meet the new generation getting free internet access, they're called warchalkers because that's what they do, marking buildings where you can connect free. Aaron Swartz age 15... runs the warchalker website.

AS: Basically.. ..you just take your laptop walking around the streets of wherever you're looking to warchalk or driving in a car and then when a wireless network pops up on the screen... you just make a couple of marks on the ground so that other people will be able to find it later.

BBC: This is is really easy, you just walk around with a laptop and if you want to link to the internet you just find a big company with a computer system and you're in.

AS: Yea, often times the networks are from families who bought a base station so they could surf the internet from anywhere in the house.

BBC: Which are the best targets?

AS: I found it works better when you go to residential neighborhoods... Businesses put passwords on the network or do other things to keep people out, they aren't interested in sharing.

BBC: Isn't what you're doing illegal? You're supposed to pay for internet access aren't you?

AS: If someone is willing to give you internet access, I dont see why its illegal to use that. It's not the fleecing of America [where there are no alternatives for internet access].

BBC: You say if they want to give you their internet access.... Companies want you to visit their website, but I'm not so sure about the families where you're camped outside their house using a computer.

AS: Some people say that, but when you set up the network, all the [config] programs I've used ...ask you if you want to set a password. The general assumption is that if they don't want to put a password on it, they probably don't mind other people using it.

BBC: So you reckon that if they haven't actually blocked you out, all the people and companies [who have wireless networks] are sort of welcoming you in...

AS: In most cases people have a cable modem or a DSL line which they pay a fixed fee for. If you happen to check your email or download a few web pages, its not really going to cost them any more money and its not going to slow down their internet access.

BBC: They probably don't have a law covering this, but are you a bit uneasy? What would happen if you got caught?

AS: Obviously they haven't made any laws specifically about it, but I don't feel its immoral. I don't condone people trying to crack passwords on networks or breaking into networks that have other means to keep people out, but most people I've met seem to feel its the neighborly thing to do to provide a free internet connection; so I don't think theres anything wrong with looking for one.

BBC: He really doesn't sound like a crook does he? Aaron Swartz, aged 15 who runs the warchalker website.