Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 22nd May 2010 21:18 UTC
Google This issue kind of fell by the wayside in all the WebM and Android violence, but apart from the cool things Google did this past week, they've also done something really bad. They claim it's a mistake, but the company has collected 600GB of data from open personal wireless networks in 33 countries through its Street View cars, prompting several countries to initiate official investigations into the search giant.
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RE: geolocation
by Laurence on Sun 23rd May 2010 12:25 UTC in reply to "geolocation"
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well they collected my information about wireless network
and when I tested html 5 geolocation it pinpointed me to my house on google maps with wireless. I then tested the same with a normal cable and that kind of geolocation positioning was not possible it only made as far as to the internet provider.

Thus it is a more than just a simple mistake, privacy?

You're confusing two issues. Google never hid the fact that they were collecting SSIDs to pin point users location on WiFi. That kind of information isn't private though - even on secured networks it's braudcasted. In fact, a WiFi SSID is much like a house number on a street - ie it's intended to be public knowledge as it's how you identify your home/network when connecting.

What Google also did was collect and store packets of communication. While this doesn't matter on secured network as it's just a garble of encrypted nonsense, on unencrypted networks the packets can contain personal information.

However, this thing is a storm in a tea-cup because:
1/ I actually do believe Google that it was an accident - their reasons are plausible and for other reasons I'll state next.

2/ the amount of unsecured data will be neglageable: very few wireless networks are unsecured and those that are, are unlikely to be under heavy usage (as if they were, it's likely that the user is technically minded thus would know about securing his/her network). Thus the probability of capturing ANY data, let alone personal data, it very very low.

3/ secure sites like online banking will have SSL encryption anyway. So even on an unsecured network, you wouldn't be able to read the most sensitive of information

4/ thus (continuing from point 3) the data you will capture is likely nothing more than you complete when you sign up for Google Mail anyway. ie not enough to actually do anything serious such as identity theft.

This whole witch hunt that's going on at the moment is only good for one thing: raising peoples awareness that it's THEIR responsibility to secure THEIR network. Sure, Google are in the wrong (accidental or not), but at least it's Google's street view that was listening and not someone looking for a "fall guy" when bit-torrenting or downloading child porn.

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