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UK Finds That Google Wi-Fi Snooping Yielded Little
No 'meaningful details' gathered from Street View sniffing
by Karl Bode 05:02PM Thursday Jul 29 2010
Google recently found themselves under fire from privacy regulators in multiple countries for the company's admission that they had been collecting Wi-Fi user data from unsecured hotspots using Street View vehicles. Google initially stated they only collected publicly available SSID and MAC Address data -- then later acknowledged that they were collecting snippets of actual transmitted data -- though Google insisted they did so accidentally. However, a UK review has found no real privacy harm was done:
quote:
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The ICO said in a statement: "On the basis of the samples we saw, we are satisfied so far that it is unlikely that Google will have captured significant amounts of personal data." It added: "There is also no evidence - as yet - that the data captured by Google has caused or could cause any individual detriment." Despite this, Google was "wrong" to gather the information, said the ICO.
The UK's findings are in line with Google's admission that the equipment used changed channels roughly five times a second while the vehicle was moving.

In other words, while Google did intend to collect publicly available SSID and MAC information, most of the live Wi-Fi user data collected (from unsecured hotspots only) was largely useless. Google has admitted error and apologized for their screw up, though the company still faces inquiries in multiple countries and in the United States.

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MIRV

join:2000-12-01
Louisville, KY

Google isn't the threat

I never understood what all the uproar was about. Wardrivers have been mapping / intercepting wireless networks for years. I would submit that wardrivers would be a much greater threat than google.
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Bah weep grana weep ninny bon

FLATLINE

join:2007-02-27
Buffalo, NY

Re: Google isn't the threat

I agree. What I'm wondering is how many of these clowns still have unsecured WiFi.

DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Re: Google isn't the threat

just look at this map site
»wigle.net/

FLATLINE

join:2007-02-27
Buffalo, NY

Re: Google isn't the threat

Nice! Ive never heard of this site before. Pretty cool!
Ulmo

join:2005-09-22
Aptos, CA

1 recommendation

I agree with everything you said except your subject ("Google isn't the threat"). In this, Google wasn't a threat. But Google is a threat in privacy in other concerns, just not this one.

r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44

1 recommendation

Wrong??

Google did nothing wrong. They can record all open wifi traffic they want from public property just like anyone else can without it being wrong.
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Your behavior is inconsistent with your desire to be treated like everyone else.
devnuller

join:2006-06-10
Cambridge, MA

4 edits

1 recommendation

Google apologist are everywhere

How do you think these blog posts would read if AT&T or any other company did this exact same thing? I have a feeling people would be reading and quoting wiretapping regulation details... "unauthorized access to computer networks." Next would be calls to the FCC, the DoJ, demanding sanctions and some new privacy buzz phrase to rally the political mob machine. This news item would be 100+ in responses (vs 4 in 4 hours)

Anything to keep the focus off how Google has the monopoly on WORLD WIDE Internet advertising (where all the money is made) and knows absolutely everything about you and what you do/say/think. Conspiricy theories would flow freely around how bad ISPs are mapping your home demographics to your IP address (never mind, the ISPs already have that... It is Google that doesn't have didn't have that before.

But it's understandable... who pays the bills?

r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44

1 recommendation

Re: Google apologist are everywhere

Those would be the people who have no idea about wifi and what an unsecured access point is.

Anyone with half a brain would say the same thing no matter who was recording the information - "if you don't secure your ap then you can't bitch when others connect to it or record your unencrypted freely broadcasted data"
--
Your behavior is inconsistent with your desire to be treated like everyone else.
FactChecker
Premium
join:2008-06-03

1 edit

1 recommendation

Re: Google apologist are everywhere

said by r81984:

Anyone with half a brain would say the same thing no matter who was recording the information - "if you don't secure your ap then you can't bitch when others connect to it or record your unencrypted freely broadcasted data"
I think that is a bit unrealistic. The consumer electronic industry has been putting out default open wifi for some time now. Assuming that every user will know to or how to secure it is not likely.

The fact that code was written specifically to take advantage of open wifi to map user IP addresses -> to homes -> surfing behavior is testiment to this situation. Even if you secure your wifi, your neigbors information give the data collector enough information to map your IP within a pretty close proximity.
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"Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44

Re: Google apologist are everywhere

Ignorance is no excuse. All the manuals tell you how to secure them with pictures.

"linksys" has to be the largest free ISP in America, lol.
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Your behavior is inconsistent with your desire to be treated like everyone else.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Google has a Monopoly on nothing, Yahoo has search and adverts too. but right now Google has the superior product so it has majority usage.

Governments are only pissed about the wifi things because "Invasion of privacy" as their watchdogs called it is of course a governments only club.

i mean how dare a company get totally useless bits of data that amount to nothing, its the job of the government to waste tax dollars to do that!! =)
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[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
Ulmo

join:2005-09-22
Aptos, CA

Of course

Thankfully those UK people found out what we've been saying about this all along.