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Google Privacy Wireless Networking Your Rights Online

Google Says It Mistakenly Collected Wi-Fi Data While Mapping 215

Posted by timothy
from the just-accidentally-of-course dept.
Even if Google says there's nothing to worry about, newviewmedia.com writes, the company "said it would stop collecting Wi-Fi network data from its StreetView cars, after an internal investigation it conducted found it was accidentally collecting data about websites people were visiting over the hotspots. From the WSJ article: 'It's now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open [i.e. non-password-protected] Wi-Fi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products.'"
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Google Says It Mistakenly Collected Wi-Fi Data While Mapping

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  • by kindbud (90044) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:22PM (#32214758) Homepage

    What evidence do you have that Google was, other than Google's own statement?

    If Google made no statement, would you assume they were not capturing payload, like you assume Skyhook isn't?

    Double standard, dude.

  • Re:Hey, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dougisfunny (1200171) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:25PM (#32214792)

    Well, this is more akin to a drunkenly passed out girl, who passed out on the front lawn, naked, being photographed by the camera's on the street view vehicle.

  • by Tanman (90298) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:30PM (#32214840)

    If the government subpoenas Google to see the nature of the data they 'accidentally' collected, can they hunt through the data for evidence of illegal activities by the individual users and then go after them? This seems like it would be a great way for The Man to have access to private data by circumventing unreasonable search protections. After all, they just happened to notice this data while checking to see what data Google had been stea, er, storing.

  • Re:Hey, (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KrugalSausage (822589) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:47PM (#32215588)
    Ah, the thought of comparing a postman reading mail to rape. I wonder what moral relativism will look like for my grandchildren. Oh, and in the UK they arrest you for just about anything these days. I'm sure you know about the guy arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin? http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/05/03/2010-05-03_gay_cop_arrests_preacher_for_saying_homosexuality_is_a_sin.html [nydailynews.com]
  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Friday May 14, 2010 @10:04PM (#32216576)

    Not legally.

  • Re:Hey, (Score:2, Interesting)

    by espiesp (1251084) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:12AM (#32217638)

    Ganthor Said: "For what purpose, I ask, would MAC addresses be collected? "

    Easy. Google Location Services. By tying a WiFi MAC to a GPS Coordinate you can use wifi as a sudo-gps solution. Even for devices with GPS it's faster and probably lower power to simply bark up the WiFi and look up the MAC of the hotspots around and shut it down. GPS takes a while to lock on in the best of circumstances and in dense urban areas Wifi simply rocks for this purpose.

    However, as I discovered when I moved my Wireless Router from Las Vegas to Michigan, it's not without it's issues... Simply manually re-registering my Routers MAC fixed that problem pretty quickly.

  • Re:Hey, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by khchung (462899) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:24AM (#32217892) Journal

    but an unencrypted network is an invitation for anyone to sniff your traffic passively.

    So you are OK if, in a restaurant, other patrons eavesdrop and record your conversations with your SO/close friend? It is ok to do so in a public restaurant, right?

    Would you also be OK for your neighbor to eavesdrop and record the noises coming out from your house, e.g. you arguing with your SO, or whatever noise coming out of the master bedroom at night? Even though they may need a sensitive microphone or a big parabolic dish to do so, from across the street to your house?

    After all, not talking in codes or installing noise absorbing wall in your house is an invitation for anyone to passively listen to your conversations, right? What do you expect if you are broadcasting your sound waves on the air in the clear out into public space? Right?

  • Re:Hey, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shiftless (410350) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @12:04PM (#32228242) Homepage

    So you are OK if, in a restaurant, other patrons eavesdrop and record your conversations with your SO/close friend? It is ok to do so in a public restaurant, right?

    Would you also be OK for your neighbor to eavesdrop and record the noises coming out from your house, e.g. you arguing with your SO, or whatever noise coming out of the master bedroom at night? Even though they may need a sensitive microphone or a big parabolic dish to do so, from across the street to your house?

    After all, not talking in codes or installing noise absorbing wall in your house is an invitation for anyone to passively listen to your conversations, right? What do you expect if you are broadcasting your sound waves on the air in the clear out into public space? Right?

    The answer to all of the above questions is YES.

    Just because something makes you uncomfortable doesn't mean it should be illegal.

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