Rant: Google In Trouble Over Collecting Unprotected WiFi Data

Rant Time

I am utterly sick to death of hearing about “Google breeching privacy” or “spying on private data”. If anyone is stupid enough to leave their wireless network unsecured, then they deserve everything coming to them! There is nothing stopping anyone from driving around in a car, collecting wireless data exchanged through the medium we all share (air). People have been doing it for years! Who hasn’t done it? I have! Why is Google any different? Why has this event turned into a ridiculous worldwide scandal?

The points are, Google stored very small fragments of data that was broadcasting at the time a Google car drove past. If the wireless network was secured (encrypted like all good sysadmins will ensure) then the data was not readable. The scare is, if you were logging into a website at the exact second Google drove past, your information may have been stored.

Lets assume for a second it was… Who cares!!? As soon as it was discovered, the information was segregated and stored on an encrypted volume. Where a nominated representative for a country was selected, the data was securely deleted and verified by independent source.

But it comes back to one thing – if any residence or business operates a wireless network that is not “secured” then it is common knowledge that any data travelling on that network is publicly accessible. Grow the hell up n00bs, and take some responsibility for your own stupidity.

It’s similar to saying “I want cake, but I’m too lazy to get up and get some. ” If you’re too lazy to do something about it, then you don’t get the right to complain about it!


The Media

They really aren’t helping the situation by relaying misleading information to readers, who have no choice but to accept it at face value. Check this news article out by The Australian IT:

Google Street View cars may have obtained bank details

BANK details and other private information of Australians may have been illegally obtained by Google, the federal government says.

Employees of the internet giant are under police investigation for collecting personal information about Australians while they photographed streets for the Google Maps website.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland revealed on Sunday that he had referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told a Senate hearing in May that if proven, it would amount to the “single greatest breach in the history of privacy”.

“(If) you were doing a banking transaction, or transmitting personal information, they could have hoover-ed it up, sucked it up into their machine,” he told ABC Television on Monday.

“What we want to ensure now is that we get access to the information that’s been collected.

“We want to know where it’s stored, we want to know what the information is, and importantly we want to ensure that Google don’t destroy this information.”

It was a reminder that Australians should always be alert to online security, Senator Conroy said, while spruiking Cyber Security Awareness Week.

Up to one third of Australians don’t always tap into their wireless connections with passwords, making them vulnerable to security attacks, he said.

Senator Conroy said it was up to police to accept Google’s claim that the collection of personal information was a mistake.

Source: The Australian IT
Last Accessed: 14 Jul 2010

My response to that:

As previously mentioned, it’s called SSL, Conroy you pathetic excuse for existence. “What we want to ensure now is that we get access to the information that’s been collected” is what I would call the “single greatest breach in the history of privacy” – why does the government need access to this information? I trust Google with it more than Conroy. It’s not Google’s fault “Up to one third of Australians” are idiots who can’t secure their wifi connection.

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