G+: "Superintendent Hay said Wi-Fi users without a secure …
"Superintendent Hay said Wi-Fi users without a secure network "may as well put their bank account details, password and personal details on a billboard on the side of the highway"."
Just a little bit of exaggeration - no bank worth their salt would ever allow their customers to access their bank accounts without SSL. But as Firesheep proved - there's a lot of nasty things one can do with other websites with no or only partial encryption.
Connecting to and using a Wi-Fi AP which is unencrypted and open is not bloody "hacking", especially not if the AP is broadcasting its presence/SSID openly and is not implementing something like a MAC whitelist. If a network ticks all the above boxes then in many cases your OS will just go and automatically connect to it for you. What if it is deliberately unencrypted and open? Certainly deliberately leaving the AP unencrypted and open is not a crime.
Sure it is, by their definition, just like News of the World's hacking involved using the default passwords that none of the celebrities and politicians bothered to change. You or I would probably define hacking more along the lines of 'using 1337 skills to penetrate secure systems', by police define it as unauthorized access.
While that analogy is pretty ridiculous, I actually reckon this project is the right way around. The police could have set up honeypot APs around Queensland, capturing the details of whoever logged into them and put those people in prison. But what they would probably get is mostly opportunistic criminals and wardriving students. If they went about it that way, they would not have prevented any crimes and put extra load on our judicial and prison systems. Their chosen method instead reduces the vulnerability of potential victims. And let's face it, they need it - most users are doing well if they are able to get the power and ethernet cords in the right sockets.
If I could +1 just the last sentence of that comment, I would.