Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's Your Fault if Google Spied on Your WiFi

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 The gathering of WiFi network information by the vehicles that gather pictures that comprise the pictures that used in Google's street view feature on Google Maps has lead to the latest privacy furor Google faces.  While driving through cities around the world the Street View cars gathered the SSID's and MAC addresses of every WiFi router found.  Google originally claimed that they did not capture any WiFi network traffic, but a review of the captured data did contain data transferred from WiFi networks.

The only data that was captured that could be reassembled is data from WiFi networks that run totally in the clear with no encryption at all.  Users of WiFi networks that run in the clear are just lazy or foolish not to set up good WiFi security.  For those who insist on running their WiFi networks with no security on the public airwaves cannot expect data to remain private.  The only way that keep computer network traffic private is to go to an exclusively hard wired Ethernet network or secure a WiFi network with WPA 2 encryption.

Keeping WiFi network traffic private or letting it go to everybody who can receive it is a conscious choice that WiFi network owners make.  Keeping WiFi networks in the clear doesn't leave a person open to getting their Internet service mooched off of, but their other data to be collected by Google or anybody else.  That's a choice people made to keep their WiFi in the clear, they only have themselves to blame how their data is used.

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