Wi-find out?

I recently committed my first truly (horrible) German act.

I was sitting at my desk one evening when the doorbell rang. I generally never answer my door as there’s a high chance it could be DHL or Hermes or any one of the billion other online companies Germans order from, leaving my hallway looking like a sorting office.

However, it was a bit late in the day for that, so I optimistically thought it might be my next-door neighbour coming to apologise for his incessant, inconsiderate warbling. I opened the door, willing to graciously accept his apology.

Stupid optimism.

I stood face to face with a girl I had never seen before in my life.

Stranger Danger: I need the code for your Wi-Fi.

Me: Um, what? Who are you? 

SD: Oh, I live downstairs.

Me: Riiiiight. And?

SD: I need the code for your Wi-Fi. 

Me: (in my head) NEIN!

Me: (out loud) NEIN! 

SD: What? But I’m a student and I’m only going to be here for a month and it’s going to take longer than that to get Wi-Fi set up…

Me: I know. Germany’s a nightmare but I really can’t give you my Wi-Fi code. Try the guy next door.

SD: He says he doesn’t have Wi-Fi. 

Me: (in my head) LIAR!

Me: (out loud) LIAR! I see him on his laptop every day. Anyway, I’m really sorry, but I can’t help you. 

The luck of the Irish was not strong with this one.
The luck of the Irish was not strong with this one.

I closed the door with her probably thinking I was a right bitch, and me feeling like a right bitch. But before you start thinking I’m a right bitch too, allow me to explain.

Germany has INSANELY strict laws against downloading. Fines start in the hundreds and can run into the thousands. An entire industry of lawyers has sprung up as a result of the intellectual property protection laws here.

Last year, a friend of mine rented out her apartment through Air BnB for a week or so. She came back to a fine for close to €1,000. She contacted the guy whose response was, “I was sick so I downloaded some TV shows”. Luckily for her, Air BnB stepped in so she didn’t have to pay it. (I was going to write something about her bacon being saved, but maybe a blog on Germany can have too much Schwein…)

OK, so as far as I can tell, the fine goes to the person registered in the flat. But if this chick is only going to be here for a month, chances are she won’t even register and then sod off back to her own country. Maybe she won’t download anything, but maybe she will. If she’s untraceable, maybe they’ll come after me. Paranoid? Perhaps, but that’s what living in Germany does to you…

They're watching you...
They’re watching…

My German friends whole-heartedly agreed with my decision. (Germans are a bit nuts about online security.) So, even if I do feel like a bit of an ass, at least I feel like a German ass. Progress.

German ass
German ass

And I know that neither of the neighbours mentioned in this post will read it as they (allegedly) don’t have Wi-Fi so I’m safe there, too.

In fact, the only crime I may be *guilty of in the near future is beating my noisy neighbour to death with his own music stand.

*(If he is found dead, I did not do it. Get me a lawyer.)



84 thoughts on “Wi-find out?”

  1. Fines are crazy. We have two wifi accounts, one I set to slower, so if we have students (we rent a room) with us, they get that. Noone would have the patience to download from there.
    And, who starts with I need your wifi- One would think they would have better luck with- hi, i am here for a month and was wondering, I would pay xy euros, blah blah.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, and if Latvia is ever going to be invaded by Germans again, it’ll be the crack ‘Anwalt’ mercenary divisions contracted by American media corporations.

    (But hey, it was the Germans who elected their Pirate Party into the EU Parliament, so the sauerkraut is not all rotten.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m embarrassed to admit that I considered doing the same when I was told it would take a month to get internet! Thankfully, there was a random T-Mobile Hotspot so the day was saved!


  3. Holy shit… Girl’s got some balls if she just marches up to someone’s door and demands wifi like that. Way to shut that crap down. She can march herself to the damn store and get an Internet stick instead of mooching off her neighbors.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You did right! With the astronomical rates we pay for internet in Canada, I’m paranoid about anyone leeching off my wifi.

    Just yesterday, I got my younger son set up with wifi in his flat ( apartment ) in Ottawa. I made him call me and walked him through the security set up on his router.

    The sheer gall of the request !! NEIN is right!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well I had no idea their laws were that strict in Germany – holy hell! Also, if I were in your shoes, I’d totally have done exactly the same thing. For one thing, it’s just so bizarre for me to even imagine a random stranger asking for my wifi password. Nope, that’s mine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they’re REALLY strict! And a lot of stuff is blocked on YouTube, etc. You just get a message saying, “This content is not available in your country”. Grr 😉


      1. Get a lot of that in Bahrain – whole websites will be totally blocked for no real reason. Frustrating. Using VPNs can ease the issue, but then the Internet is so terrible that it just gets worse through a VPN! First world problems, eh?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Not only the modern Anglo- Saxon females are so unfunny to understand sophisticated British (!) humour, but also they are rude and inhospitable. Now this poor outlandish (?) maid sadly huddles in their tiny flat and write their little blog (offline) how nasty, direct and cold- hearted the Germans act (because this conversation was in German). This is the way improper preconceptions emerge! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You were absolutely in the right!!! who asks neighbors for their wifi code!? that’s a service YOU pay for and went to the trouble of setting up and they didn’t! not agreeing does NOT make you a bitch, her asking DOES.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jesus, I’d have thought the German would have you well-trained by now! And I did think about you actually – it doesn’t have to be porn. Couple of music tracks, a TV show – you’re in serious trouble! I’ll send you the bill if I get anything in the mail 😉


  8. Who gives a crap about the legal side (ok, so care a little, but) – the CHEEK of her! You did exactly the right thing. Well done for not giving her a piece of your mind while you ran the cheeky minx away from your door.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would never give my Wi-Fi code to a stranger and I would never dare to ask anyone either. That isn’t done at all. She could have gone to a cafe to get free Wi-Fi and you can create a Wi-Fi zone with your phone. There is nothing German specific about not giving out your code…(Suzanne)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m with the rest who are appalled that this woman had the nerve to knock on the door of a total stranger and demand a wi-fi code. We don’t have those strict laws here, but I still wouldn’t give out my code.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nein! Nein! Nein!! And you’ve had two folks boldly walk up wanting to free-load off your Wi-Fi? Innnnnntteresting!

    The way data packages in so many countries are structured now, getting a SIM card with data to use my phone as a hotspot is my numero uno activity in a new country. 🙂

    Have phone, have SIM, no need to be an annoying moocher!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, if only more people were like you and Nancy 😉 It does take a while in Germany to get connected so I can understand the frustration, but good luck getting a total stranger’s password here!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Good call. Don’t feel bad.

    On another note, I’m curious as to whether your German ass photo is a stock photo or whether, for the sake of authenticity and ‘keeping it real’, you venture outside with a camera and shot these pics as you need them?!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I can’t believe some stranger just rocked up to your door and expected you to hand over your WiFi code! I must have German blood in me too… why doesn’t she just use her mobile to get online? (Don’t tell me it’s not possible in Germany… but then it was the 20th century when a German uni told me students can’t save their documents on a disc on their own so I probably will believe anything)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! It is possible to get the internet on your phone but without Wi-Fi, it would probably get expensive fast – especially if she doesn’t have a German contract! Aww, how cute that they couldn’t even save a document! Germans 🙂


  14. See, this is where naming your wifi something cheeky like, “Get Your Own Damn WiFi” or “Fuck off Moocher” would come in handy. She’d never knock on your door knowing you’re a right bitch from the outset. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  15. What a cheeky thing to even ask of you! That is so rude, I’d never give that out. I remember a Swedish girl who lived across from me in uni demanding I give her the code for our flat and she got so snotty with me when I said no. Stand firm Linda – I’m with the Germans on this one!X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Woop – seems like the Germans are winning hands down on this one! I can understand her frustration but there was no way I was giving it out here. Maybe she will eventually go to a Starbucks and read this and understand why 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Well, there is something called Backtrack or Cali, uhh never mind. When you bring a Car to the local grease monkey to find out about that smoke coming from under the hood/bonnet, do you give him the key? Of course! Now, when you bring in your computer to fix the latest Windows glitch, do you give them your password? No! Of course not. Now explain to me how a technician is going to verify whether the system is functioning correctly. Psst, it’s a big, big, secret, ..he doesn’t need your password!! Same goes for your wireless connection, and that is your defense, there is no modem that is 100% secure from intrusion by someone with a laptop in a car across the street. Many devices have a backdoor so that the company techs can always reset the device, many of these backdoors are known, published even. I honestly fail to see how they could enforce download laws without proving you were the one doing it, so unless they find this illegal copy of a movie on your computer, they’d have no case. I cracked the password to my own wireless connection in less than 10 minutes, and I don’t know how to stop any one else from doing the same other than turning it off. You were right to not give out your password, but computers don’t get tired. Greetings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it can end up that it’s up to you to prove that you DIDN’T do it rather than the other way around but I’m no expert on it all!

      Was reading this case today –
      This is why Solmecke’s firm currently finds itself representing a disabled woman in Munich who was ordered to pay €651.80 for downloading a film about football hooligans in January 2010 – even though she doesn’t own a computer or a wireless internet router.
      “It’s one of the typical mistakes,” says Solmecke. “The poor woman – how was it supposed to be her fault? The judge said, ‘I don’t care how it happened – it’s up to her to tell us how it happened.’ But that’s wrong – it’s up to the investigators to prove it was her, not the other way round.”
      “The problem facing the German courts is that they get thousands of such cases, and they have to make quick decisions, so these errors happen,” he says.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The burden of proof lies with the state in most Countries, I think the difference lies in what they allow as evidence. This where you find out that the legal system is not based on truth but rather, what can be proven in Court. Since my machines are hard wired, like the one I’m using now with out wireless capability, I’d still have to come up with a piece of software that would register when my equipment was accessed through the wireless capability of my modem. Not a reasonable requirement for most, including myself. The fact that the courts are overloaded is not really our problem and my Experia Box does not have a switch to turn off wireless. The only option I would have is to take a soldering iron and remove the transmitter/receiver from the box. It is indeed better to not take chances, but knowledge is a good thing to have in case something does happen. Greetings.

        Liked by 2 people

  17. Ehrmm, crazy download rules or not, why can’t she go to an internet café or a starbucks or the like? Regardless of what the downloads, you would still have to pay for her use and I’m not sure why she has the audacity to ask a total stranger that? Maybe I am just scrooge but I wouldn’t do it for my neighbours, unless it was like an emergency thing to try and find a local police station or ambulance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, but when you’re at home in the evenings, the last thing you want to do is drag yourself out to a café or whatever just to check Facebook! I can see where she was coming from, but she picked the wrong country!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. with Germans being so strict on downloading, you’ve definitely have made a right call. even if there weren’t all these laws, it would’ve been a right call – what with all the online risks.
    those German fines are HUGE! good thing we’re not there yet, or I’d be stuck with all the commercials interrupted by a TV show or movie occasionally

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I don’t think I would have thought twice about it in Latvia either! You have to be very careful here though – I’m probably violating tens of laws without even realising it! 😉


    1. Yeah, and there’s no first/second/third strike rule like other countries – one time and you’re done! Have been reading some right horror stories this evening!


        1. I guess they must be. They couldn’t possibly be held responsible for the hundreds of people going in and out every day. Otherwise there’d be no wifi anywhere… You do need the password in most places here. Very few places offer free (unpassworded) wifi.


    1. Glad I’m not the only one! I did try to explain why to her but if she’s only here for a month, she could take her chances and I could take the fall for it! Trying to stay on the right side of German laws!!


  19. My first thought would be tell her to screw off. The one thing that I might think is that it’s German culture to share your wifi with anyone in your apartment who asks. But if those downloading laws are real then, screw off..haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, they’re real alright! I don’t think any German would give out their personal codes to a total stranger so it’s definitely not German culture!
      Just reading about one girl being fined €2000 for downloading one movie!! I take these online horror stories with a pinch of salt, but I’m not willing to take the chance either!


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