Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 21st Nov 2011 07:48 UTC
Google Last June, CNET disclosed that Google collects and publishes the estimated locations of millions of phones, laptops, and other Wi-Fi devices. All without their owner's knowledge or permission. Google has finally announced how to exclude your home network from this database. Simply append "_nomap" to its name. Details over at CNET. Left unsaid is why the burden is placed on millions of individuals to opt-out, instead of on perpetrator Google.
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Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

UZ64,

The whole ordeal where they were collecting private wifi traffic seems to be rather worse in my opinion.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/05/google-says-wifi-da...

Do you suppose people have a right to delete their mac addresses from the database once they see that google put them up?

The database is kind of eerie. If a cracker gets into your system, they might look up your router's mac and then search for it in google's db. This adds a whole new element to computer security threats.

Also, certain IPv6 addressing schemes include the mac address in one's personal IPv6 address. If this ever becomes popular, it would make IPv6->geolocation trivial (assuming google's cars are making their rounds frequently enough).

Edit:

I forgot to add a link:

http://superuser.com/questions/243669/how-to-avoid-exposing-my-mac-...

Edited 2011-11-21 09:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

If a cracker gets into your system, they might look up your router's mac and then search for it in google's db. This adds a whole new element to computer security threats.


Eh, not really. For one, if a cracker has gotten in to your system you have bigger problems than your MAC address being loosely tied to a physical location (that may, or may not, be correct).
Secondly, in order for the MAC address information to be remotely useful to the attacker he'll have first actually break into your system to even get your MAC address. Unless of course he's in your immediate area in which case he can figure this out all by himself without the assistance of Google.
To everyone else all they'll know is that there is an accesspoint named X that MAC address Y has used at some point in time. There's no way to actually relate that MAC address or BSSID to your person.

The dangers of this thing is a bit overstated. It's not like rogue hackers somewhere will magically gain control of your life and threaten world peace by knowing your BSSID and MAC.
We can probably expect this scenario to show up in a cheesy and technically incorrect Hollywood movie any time soon. It will probably star Lorenza Lamas.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Soulbender,

"The dangers of this thing is a bit overstated. It's not like rogue hackers somewhere will magically gain control of your life and threaten world peace by knowing your BSSID and MAC."

Yes it probably is, but it's still an additional way people become vulnerable online that did not exist prior to google publishing a database of local MAC addresses.

Reply Parent Score: 2