Readers, I need your thoughts on an etiquette issue associated with technology. Yesterday morning I was at the San Francisco airport finishing up a story while waiting for a flight. Inspired by my colleague James over at jkOnTheRun, I had my laptop and my Verizon MiFi out on the table. The MiFi is a handy little device that uses Verizon’s 3G network to provide a Wi-Fi signal for up to five devices to access the web. Using it, I can download 5GB on my laptop, iPod Touch or any other WiFi-enabled device, for $60 a month.
A fellow traveler spied the device, knew what it was (only in San Francisco), and asked if he could piggyback on my connection to do some work. I politely said no, then packed up my stuff to change locations so he would think I had to leave and not that I was a complete jerk (James over at jkOTR would also say no). But was I? I was hesitant to share my connection with a total stranger because of the potential security risks, and because I had no idea how much of my 5GB he would use. I wondered if he was the type of person who wanders over to you in a Starbucks asking to borrow your laptop so he can check his email. But in a similar situation, readers, would you share? Is it rude to ask?