How do you let annoying neighbours know they are annoying you without confronting them or being annoying yourself? You could leave a note in their letterbox, send an anonymous letter, wrap a note around a brick and throw it through their front window or just call out late at night using a handkerchief to muffle your voice and make it unrecognisable.

Apparently, in today’s high tech era there is a much more subtle way of getting a message through and that’s using your Wi-Fi name or SSID to do the talking for you. Believe it or not, people are renaming their home networks as ‘messages’ to annoying neighbours.

Reddit users are tracking the phenomenon and the BBC has even reported the story. It’s a lot more than just giving your home network a witty name like ‘Terror Network’ or ‘Virus Transmission Site’ to scare off would-be interlopers, things can get much more serious.

Most address noise issues with names like, ‘Stop Shouting,’ ‘Stop Slamming the Doors,’ ‘Shut Your Barking Dog Up No. 7,’ ‘Stop Wearing Heels,’ and even worse, ‘We Can Hear You Having Sex’ which is apparently popular across Britain and Ireland. It’s even getting to the stage where people are responding to Wi-Fi messaging directly by renaming their own networks. Some examples quoted, ‘Stop Stealing My Paper’ which got the response ‘FYI, I Don’t Read It I Just Throw It Away,’ and ‘You’re music is annoying!’ followed by ‘Your grammar is more annoying!’

Even though most routers now allow for easy setup of secure, password-controlled access many people still have open networks. These are particularly vulnerable to renaming by freeloaders who can leave their own mark, and pointed message, or simply offer ‘Free Wi-Fi Here.’

Who’d have thought that the humble home Wi-Fi network could be become such a powerful communication tool in ‘name’ alone. But think twice before you get too clever, racist and derogatory comments identifying neighbours by name could lead to legal action.

First published at Telco Professionals on 25 October 2012