FTC drops Google Street View Wi-Fi sniffing fiasco

By Matthew ยท 23 replies
Oct 27, 2010
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  1. The US Federal Trade Commission has officially closed its investigation (PDF) into Google for collecting data from unsecured wireless networks. The search company announced in May that its Street View vehicles inadvertently collected information from unencrypted Wi-Fi connections, including passwords and entire emails. Google recently apologized for the mistake in a blog post and outlined the changes it's made to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

    Read the whole story
  2. Neojt

    Neojt TS Addict Posts: 223   +56

    Well this is good news.

    Maybe it will teach peaple not to leave there doors unlocked.
  3. Kamugisha

    Kamugisha TS Rookie

    We learn from mistakes, isn't it? Think google has survived this one and come out a winner.
  4. j05hh

    j05hh TS Booster Posts: 156   +34

    secure your wifi people!!
  5. jenifleo

    jenifleo TS Rookie

    It sounds like Google is doing job. Too bad it took the FTC to make them aware of it.Funny story one day at work we used the service to see a coworkers house and the company vehicle was parked in front of his house. We caught him using it for taking a lunch break at his house. He was floored had nothing but red on his face.
  6. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    Of course this isn't something to blame owners for, but they certainly should have their wireless connections with security. There is some lack of technological education among a lot of people.
  7. drasho

    drasho TS Enthusiast Posts: 62

    I guess people learned a lesson from this... probably not =) You can still find atleast one unsecure wifi per appartments =P
  8. bugejakurt

    bugejakurt TS Booster Posts: 158   +15

    Google: "Upps.... Sorry but we incidentely stole passwords, emails and other personal information from unsecured WiFis along our Google Street View journey."

    Mistake? Is this an incident? I mean passwords and emails from unsecured WiFis need a bit of a hack to retrieve them, even from unsecured WiFis. People if even Google spied on your personal information, how much of this information is spied on the net? Security should be the top consideration especially for businesses and also other web surfers.
  9. frodough

    frodough TS Rookie Posts: 90

    this is hardly entirely google's fault. in a world where advanced gadgets used by eggheads and *****s who thinks adding password is a hassle should be deserved to have their unsecured data taken away by anyone! comon ppl you dont just turn on a wifi and call it a day that's like crack up a car and walk away leaving the door open - eventually (however long it maybe) someone or something will get inside if not take a test drive. same principle - you lock a car, you should also secure a wifi.
  10. Zecias

    Zecias TS Booster Posts: 202

    who doesn't secure their wifi?...
  11. xcelofjkl

    xcelofjkl TS Rookie Posts: 86

    I read an article that digitial security is behind when it comes to development in the computing field. Now it's becoming apparent.
  12. TwiztidSef

    TwiztidSef TS Rookie Posts: 49

    I believe it was an accident. Its possible that the equipment they used to take or send the photos got the information. This probably happened because google is expanding into different areas too quickly. Their planning their own fiber network, releasing a netbook and phone os, making changes to their site, and whatever else they have cooked up.

    Other than this and that buzz thing, i don't see where google has made any real missteps. Even that 411 service helped them out quite a bit.
  13. Afroaggie

    Afroaggie TS Rookie Posts: 30

    Heh, I only assume that google knows anything they want to know about me since I use their email service, their calendar service, and their search engine. With any info they can pull off of that they can pretty much paint an accurate picture of my life.
  14. bosec

    bosec TS Rookie

    It suprises me how many people leave there wireless unprotected, in the appartment complex i live in there are 12 out of 23 that are unprotected. I also wonder how often they would refresh the wifi data as I notice new and disappearing wifi connections around me.
  15. thedrelle

    thedrelle TS Enthusiast Posts: 61   +12

    The problem is that most people don't even notice that their wireless networks need securing. These devices are too easy to set up and dont exactly notify thier users that they are not secure.
  16. buttus

    buttus TS Enthusiast Posts: 180

    At least Google is trying to uphold their "do no evil" company motto.
  17. codefeenix

    codefeenix TS Rookie Posts: 39

    It is not Google's fault that people do not use secure networks.
  18. dawgtothebone

    dawgtothebone TS Rookie

    Wow,I'm actually surprised Google is implementing systems to improve privacy awareness amongst their engineers.I don't believe many companies ,if any, would have taken extra steps to implement awareness as Google is doing and then take extra steps such as auditing their privacy practices e.t.c.

    To me,unsecured wi-fi networks is comparable to talking loudly on the phone while on a bus/train,one doesn't expect others to go deaf.It is understood that ppl around this person would hear the conversation - In the same way wireless routers can always pick up unsecured wireless networks.

    @ bugejakurt, I agree that it can be initially a process to remove whole passwords and emails.I also don't believe everything I read on the news.What if the street view cars picked up certain packets and sent them off to to Google's data centers.I wouldn't be surprised if some of the data i.e. emails,passwords is complete and the majority are fragmented considering that there are more than 6 billion ppl in the world.

    After thinking about it for a little while,Google is taking appropriate steps to prevent a major privacy disaster in the future for which they could be taken down for in all seriousness. Good on you Google for implementing best practices after encountering an incident which initially wasn't Google's fault. This says a lot about Google as a company.
  19. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    Definitely not a surprised since studies conducted didn't really show significant data stolen. However if this was a serious issue I feel the FTC would have come to the same conclusion. Either way it didn't really make much sense to me considering Google has its own e-mail server it can snoop on anytime and is known to keeping deleted emails.

    "Officer, it's not my fault my neighbor left his door unlocked."

    It's still Google's fault and was wrong what they did, however out of all the privacy issues they have this one really seemed unintentional. Looking at all the things they knowingly do or did that could compromise privacy this one was a dumb thing to go after. And Eric Schmidt isn't exactly helping their imagine in this regard.
  20. Cryptopsy

    Cryptopsy TS Enthusiast Posts: 47

    Well if you don't secure yourself, no one will do for you... and its not the first time that a company keep personal information of you, just think about facebook... When you subscribe to facebook, the terms of service include that ALL information uploaded on their site is their priority.. think of that (for those who'd like to get protected against this, watch 'facebook disconnect' - a chrome extension)
  21. princeton

    princeton TS Addict Posts: 1,676

    Here's an idea...

    LOCK YOUR ****ING WIFI YOU *****S!
  22. oasis789

    oasis789 TS Rookie Posts: 51

    dont be evil, google.
  23. AbsolutGaloot

    AbsolutGaloot TS Rookie Posts: 92

    This just discourages people from leaving their wifi open for stranded travelers to access while they are waiting for their internet to get set up at their new accommodations. Sadness.
  24. kaonis92

    kaonis92 TS Enthusiast Posts: 118

    People deserved that for leaving them unsecured! They should teach the dangers of unsecured wifi's in schools!

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