Knowing that even networks deliberately left open are not without controversy, I debated whether to expose networks left open by people who didn't know better. I chalked up the sidewalks of "101" and "FransCherie" and even "fiber," unaware of their owners' intentions, but one house had a network named for its address: 615 on a certain Hollywood street. It was open, and it ripped, and we were sure they didn't know. We sat for a long time surfing -- the driveway was full of cars, the sun was shining -- and eventually drove away. Later, I came back to warchalk under cover of darkness.
I asked Jones what he thought about the 615 house. "Lots of people have been e-mailing me about what happens in that situation," he said, "and I tell them it's not up to me. But look at it this way -- if you were an evil hacker, would you leave your Zorro mark on the sidewalk? No. And you can imagine that when the 615 guy comes out in the morning, if he figures it out at all, he could either say, 'Oh cool! I meant it to be open,' or say, 'Oh shit! I've got an open network node and I've got to close it down.' Or he might discover what it's all about and say, 'Maybe I'll look in to setting up a community wireless node.'
"It's a white hacker thing to do," Jones assured me. "On the other hand, I haven't really thought through this. It's a tiny little idea that's gone crazy."
Jones' "naive hope," he said, is that warchalking will popularize free wireless Internet access. Jones' original set of symbols can be expanded to include marks indicating paid wireless and official networks. It's also art: "I see it as a filigree of symbols all over the city, draped over a map, like those little signs workmen leave behind, showing where to dig or drill," said Jones. Plus, "It's fun to be part of a club, to have a secret decoder ring. And it's much better than putting up a sign in your window saying 'Free Wireless Network Here!'"