Google Street View Camera Vehicles Collected WI FI data (1 Viewer)

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Google claims it was totally inadvertent that they collected wi fi data using their street view camera vehicles. Personally I can't bring myself to believe that.

In May, Google admitted that equipment attached to its Street View cars had inadvertently collected personal information that consumers sent over unencrypted wireless networks. The revelation prompted inquiries from privacy officials all over the world.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2363835,00.asp


This was first revealed May but for some reason is just now hitting the fan again. It is totally unbelievable that they could have mistakenly done this world wide.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2371329,00.asp
 
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Ygggdrasil

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Although I don't use unencrypted wireless networks much, I'm pretty sure Google already has all of my emails.
 
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So they collected data for the 10 seconds they were in range?

I'm not worried, particularly since my Wireless B, G, and now N connections have always been encrypted.
 
Do people still have unencrypted wireless in their homes?
 

Office_Shredder

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Tons of people Neo. They don't even realize that's a thing you can/should do
 

collinsmark

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Do people still have unencrypted wireless in their homes?
I'd might venture to say most people use unencrypted wireless in their homes.

I'm guessing that in most cases, a person buys a router, hooks it up, gets their wireless Internet connection functional, and then never bothers to set set up security. I might even bet a large percentage of people don't even bother setting up a password for the router's control interface page (meaning that hypothetically, a sneaky neighbor could easily hijack the router, set up encryption on it, thus locking the actual owner out of his own wireless access! [Well until the original owner finally figures it out and resets the router to its factory defaults.])

Control page password aside, setting up unencrypted WI-FI is not that big of deal, if you know what you're doing -- essentially setting up a wireless hot-spot for you and your neighbors, just to be neighborly. Make sure passwords are encrypted by some means (such as web-based encryption), Make sure you have a software firewall on all computers using it; and don't use it for anything that you really want to keep private (unless there is some other encryption going on).

It's even good business practice. It's good for a company to have unencrypted wireless available to any customers/clients that are visiting, so they can be productive while visiting. Just make sure the company's internal network is on the other side of the firewall!
 
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There may have been no harm done, although they admit that they stored passwords and entire e-mails.

But I still wonder why they did it. This was a world wide venture, and that means a lot of unintentional data was collected. It must have cost them a lot of money to collect information that they claim that they will now delete.
 
Do people still have unencrypted wireless in their homes?
moving.png


Alt-text: We need a special holiday to honor the countless kind souls with unsecured networks named, 'linksys'.
 
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I honestly haven't found that many unsecure networks in the UK.

It's not like Google stuck around, they were driving past houses. If anything, people should be annoyed at them taking pictures. But wait, they can't because it's classed as being in the public domain. So instead they go after this load of tripe regarding wifi. I say that wifi outside your house is no different to taking photos outside your house.

I was under the impression linking up the wifi was simply a measure to help improve the accuracy of the vehicles location. It's not like they deliberately went out to steal data.

Being the biggest search engine on the planet, they don't need to resort to such underhanded tactics if they want to know what you're up to. This is all about people wanting to make a fuss about something once again.

At the end of the day, if you don't secure your wifi it's your problem. If you don't lock your car and it's stolen, it may not remove blame from the thief but it will certainly be considered your own doing by the insurance and the like.

It does bring an interesting question:
You have an unsecured wireless network. Someone uses it to steal your credit card data and runs up some bills in your name. Who does the credit card company blame for the incident? Do they refuse to pay out as you failed to secure your data and left it open to anyone within range?
After all, you didn't lock your car/house/garage and so the insurance companies won't pay out and you are responsible for costs. So why should this situation be any different?
Obviously, the police would charge the fraudster either way, they did commit a crime(s) regardless. But who is responsible for the bill? Who pays for the damage? Why should the card companies insurance have to pay out when it is no different to you not locking your car and expecting your car insurance to foot the cost?

Ignorance is not a defence. There are plenty of warnings to put a password on it, the new Virgin Media setup discs make you put a password in as you create the network.
 
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But I still wonder why they did it. This was a world wide venture, and that means a lot of unintentional data was collected. It must have cost them a lot of money to collect information that they claim that they will now delete.
Why they collected wifi data in the first place?
They were adding of availability of free wifi and density of wifi usage to their maps - that could be of use to somebody. There are several services where I would like to know, and be willing to pay for, a list of cities with enough free coverage.

Why they logged actual data?
Rather than develop a custom SSID grabber they simply used wireshark (or similar) data dump that grabbed everything. It's cheaper and easier if you have a hard drive the size of Google to just dump the raw data than develop apps to parse out the parts you want. There is also a corporate philosophy of, store everything - worry about analysing it later - which led to this.

I'm inclined to go for cock-up over conspiracy on this one.
If Google wanted any of my email/web browsing or IM data they don't already have - they could do it more cheaply by just being an ISP.

The outcry is mostly politicians jumping on this after they realized they can't do anything about streetview without looking silly -for having 1000s of CCTV cameras, or having to arrest 1000s of tourists
 

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