Where in the Bay Area can a user connect to the web via Ethernet?
August 18, 2014 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Wifi is plentiful, but it is also more vulnerable than a wired connection. In the Bay Area, is there a library or other public or semi-public, trustworthy place, that allows users to connect directly to the router with an ethernet cable? Charging a fee is fine.
posted by Baeria to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Connecting to a router you don't own and control isn't any safer than wifi. And when it comes to things like this, "trustworthy" is a null set.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:14 PM on August 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Related question: what private or public entity in our society acts as the guardian of integrity? Lots of people will lie up a storm, if it suits them or on behalf of third parties; whose charter precludes this?
posted by Baeria at 1:16 PM on August 18, 2014

There isn't one. The Secret Service and the FBI do some law enforcement in this area, but that's about the extent of it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:23 PM on August 18, 2014

FedEx Office (Kinko's) has FedEx Office LapNet ("Connect your PC or Mac laptop to our wired LapNet...").

Maybe hotels have wired connections.

Wired is moderately safer than wireless, but it only moves your vulnerabilities. You may want to look into a VPN instead.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:33 PM on August 18, 2014

I'd say there's a chance that an older library branch still has them. Or alternately some coworking / office rental place.

Like folks above say; you can't trust the wired network much more than a wireless one. If you're being paranoid, your best bet is to buy a VPN service for $5/mo or so. Then it doesn't much matter if you're wired or wireless and your privacy becomes largely rooted at the VPN provider. Here's a recent Lifehacker story on options.
posted by Nelson at 1:38 PM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

whose charter precludes this?

Well the public library values your privacy and would not willingly rat you out to the authorities without the proper documentation BUT they can't do anything about the fact that the telcos and/or the US government may be spying on you, as much as they might like to. The downtown SFPL library has wired jacks (map). The EFF is based in the Bay Area and if anyone could answer this question authoritatively (if there is an answer) they could. Otherwise you're best off using a VPN and/or Tor if you are seriously concerned about the integrity of your communications that will be going over other people's networks.
posted by jessamyn at 1:42 PM on August 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

If your primary concern is vulnerability, specifically, then I'm going to agree with the other posters that the answer is a VPN, not a wired connection. A wired connection may be somewhat safer to random password sniffers, but you'd still want to layer on a VPN.

Check out ProXPN (I'm a satisfied user) or Private Internet Access (my brother in law is a satisfied user).
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:45 PM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Most San Francisco libraries, certainly the Main library at Civic Center, allows you to connect via ethernet.
posted by shoesietart at 3:28 PM on August 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Floors 3, 4, and 5 in the Main library in Civic Center, SF has public ethernet ports and power jacks built into the study tables. It can be a very pleasant place to study or work. Can't speak to other branches, though.
posted by blnkfrnk at 3:29 PM on August 18, 2014

I would call the area university libraries. They can be super helpful and provide services or technology help that typical libraries do not. You'll want to be clear that you're not a student though to make sure they will let you use it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:48 PM on August 18, 2014

I'd say there's a chance that an older library branch still has them.

Or a newer one; I think I've seen Ethernet ports at the new Walnut Creek library.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:27 PM on August 18, 2014

Or you could boot up Virtual Box, install Linux Mint and just not worry about it.
posted by ptm at 12:31 AM on August 21, 2014

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