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Google Street View Logs Wi-Fi Networks, MAC Addresses

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the cannot-see-basements dept.

Google 559

An anonymous reader points to this story at The Register that says "Google is collecting more than just images when they drive around for the Street View service. 'Google's roving Street View spycam may blur your face, but it's got your number. The Street View service is under fire in Germany for scanning private WLAN networks, and recording users' unique MAC (Media Access Control) addresses, as the car trundles along.' There's a choice quote at the end: 'Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said Internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide.'"

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first post 4 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953424)

muh dick [slashdot.org]

Tell Your Wireless ... (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953452)

... that it has just been 'Googled'.

This doesn't look good on the surface ... and reeks of Google's Buzz privacy blunders all over again.

Why can't Google (and everyone else for that matter) just stick to the personal data people are foolish enough to hand over to the web? This type of action puts them on the edge of WiFi hackers who are "just seeing if it could be done" ... except for that they're doing it for tens of thousands of personal and business WiFi networks.

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (3, Insightful)

grantek (979387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953466)

Basically Schmidt's quote can be better worded as saying "internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they're broadcasting something they have to hide".

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953542)

Or in other words, "if you have something to hide, hide it". Privacy through obscurity is not an option on an indexed resource like t'internet.

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953572)

Broadcasting? By making a search within Google?

Sorry but for example I rather keep the sex I have between me and my girlfriend our own private thing and not let everyone see it, or have videos of it. If I want to keep that to myself, according to Schmidt I shouldn't be having sex at all.

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (3, Insightful)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953600)

Broadcasting? By making a search within Google?

Sorry but for example I rather keep the sex I have between me and my girlfriend our own private thing and not let everyone see it, or have videos of it. If I want to keep that to myself, according to Schmidt I shouldn't be having sex at all.

No, you shouldn't be recording the sex and placing the videos in a public location.

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (3, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953714)

But my hard drive was full. I had no where else to save my sex tape other than Youtube ;)

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (4, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953614)

Actually, Schmidt's quote can be better worded as saying "If you have something to hide, you shouldn't show it to the internet, because police can and will request that information from any provider, including Google".

But that doesn't sound at all as threatening, so let's just pretend he said something else!

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (0, Troll)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953762)

No, YOU are pretending he said something else. He was quoted as saying what he actually said. Not the way YOU wish to interpret it.

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953780)

No one is "pretending" anything. He said what he said. If you want to argue that what he said is not what he intended to convey, then do so. Don't try to misrepresent what he actually said.

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (4, Funny)

clsours (1089711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953838)

Does anyone have the actual citation? Cause that would be kinda nice. http://xkcd.com/285/ [xkcd.com]

Schmidt is a Jackass! (4, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953764)

He is hypocritical...

Check out the following article:

http://news.cnet.com/Google-balances-privacy,-reach/2100-1032_3-5787483.html?tag=nl [cnet.com]

Reaction from Google? CNET is barred one year from google.

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Google-Angry-at-CNET-66164 [dslreports.com]

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (2, Interesting)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953534)

What they are doing is not even questionable, it is completely legal. They are just making a Wi-Fi map via scanning, not attempting to connect to the Wi-Fi.

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953626)

What they are doing is not even questionable, it is completely legal.

Do you know much about German law?

Because in the USA it IS questionable and in some cities it is ILLEGAL.

Really? (5, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953800)

What they are doing is not even questionable, it is completely legal.

Do you know much about German law?

Because in the USA it IS questionable and in some cities it is ILLEGAL.

How do people use public wireless, then? They have to enter all the information manually, as opposed to scanning and just picking out the right SSID?

Could you post some of the case law / legal statutes involved? Thanks!

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (3, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953546)

okay, so how is this different than any other wardriver or just anyone using wifi and how is it any more "enforceable"? Your computer keeps track of MAC addresses. There are apps that can be put on your phone to track mac addresses and open/close status while driving along with gps, and it's public information.

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (1, Interesting)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953642)

wardriving involves the theft of bandwidth, which is a commodity.

What google are doing is similar to me driving around with my mobile going "oh I've just found a wifi link" and auto-logging the mac address broadcasting.

So if what google are doing is as illegal as wardriving, I'd better turn "automatically find wifi" option off on my phone...

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953840)

wardriving involves the theft of bandwidth, which is a commodity.

I didn't know the CEO of Verizon had a /. account. Welcome aboard sir! Or are you the CEO of AT&T?

Re:Tell Your Wireless ... (4, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953864)

Wardriving is not 'theft of bandwidth'. That's piggybacking [wikipedia.org] .

Ignorance abounds (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953468)

Wow. That's pretty shitty reporting, even for The Register. Yes, Google records SSIDs and (I guess) MAC addresses of wifi APs. That way they can estimate your position for Google Maps on a mobile device, even if you have no GPS on that device. This has been public knowledge for at least a year now.

In regards to Streetview itself and recording SSIDs and such, there is simply no privacy concerns. When you are in public, people can see you. When you broadcast signals, people can receive them. If you don't want to be seen, don't go out in public. If you don't want people to see the SSID of your AP, don't broadcast it.

Ignorance abounds indeed (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953552)

The privacy concern is that Google is building a massive database of SSIDs -- this is not the same as your neighbors being able to see your SSID, this is a corporation with global reach.

This is the same sort of problem that we complain about when a company collects little bits of information that you leak in public, and builds a dossier on you. Yes, the information is technically public, but the fact that it is being assembled en masse is the problem. It is impossible to hide ever detail of your life from view, but when such a large database is built up, it reveals a lot about a person, potentially including things they did not want revealed.

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (5, Insightful)

ahankinson (1249646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953610)

Maybe I'm just ignorant, but how would they map the SSID to you? All they know is that in this area, someone somewhere has a router with a SSID of "X." (And, if you're anything like my neighbours, half of those are named "linksys.")

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953748)

Perhaps they will just wait until you use some program they wrote (a web browser?) that has a feature which forwards the BSSID you are connected to whenever you log in to a Google server. Considering how few people would have the technical skill to remove such a thing from Chrome, or to install Chromium, or to even understand what that means, I would guess they could get away with it.

Also, they probably record the numeric SSID of the AP, which should be unique (although I have seen MAC addresses that are not, and I doubt manufacturers are so careful with SSIDs).

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953760)

Not everyone lives in a densely populated urban environment. Where I live the houses are far enough apart that it's child's play to determine which AP is running in which house.

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953774)

Easy: They record the MAC address at the same time then when you surf to a site which has Google Analytics embedded in it they've got you!

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953786)

First of all, I would think that most wireless points do not have enough range to really obscure your location. If Google drove past me and picked up my wireless signal they'd be able to pin it down to a span of 3 or 4 houses without a problem, and I live in a urban setting.

Secondly, wouldn't they be able to tell the IP addresses of any unsecured hotspots? If you use a Google account surely Google knows what your IP normally is and theoretically now could narrow where you live down to a few houses if it already doesn't know. Even if you don't have a Google account, Google most likely still knows about you and your computer and this just gives them more info.

I'm not really sure what benefit there is to have Google know your actual address. Them being able to narrow it down to your city is good enough for local search. I don't need local search be fine tuned down to my specific block.

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (2, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953796)

Triangulating the position of a fixed broadcast point by a moving receiver (the Google van) is pretty trivial. My guess is there are some smart guys at Google that could make a way to do it in about 5 minutes if they want the data, which they appear to want.

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953636)

If you don't want anyone else to have your SSID, stop forcing it upon all of us by broadcasting it.

Besides, its not like Google is even collecting SSIDs, so you shouldn't have a problem.

Until the German governments wants to launch their own GPS infrastructure for free, they should keep their damn hands off all of our other location finding methods, both American GPS and Googles mac address to lat/log database.

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953720)

The privacy concern is that privacy concerners are fucking idiots like you.

ITS IN PUBLIC. ANYTHING IN PUBLIC IS, wait for it, PUBLIC!!!!!!!!!

It doesn't matter if you collect just one little bit of public information or you collect every single piece of public information. It's public. You have no right to expect privacy IN PUBLIC.

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953812)

Except that we must rethink our expectations of privacy. Nobody has ever expected everything they do to be private, but a lot of people are surprised to learn that some aspect of their life which is not public may be revealed by seemingly unimportant aspects that are public. The well known example of determining sexual orientation from a person's "friend list" on Facebook is a good example -- public information can be used to reveal information that a person may be actively trying to keep private.

Yes, in a technical sense, this data is all public. It used to be the case that we knew we could separate our public lives from our private lives, but efforts like this undermine our ability to assume such a separation.

Re:Ignorance abounds indeed (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953852)

Speaking of building massive databases, I recently bought a wireless router that had a $10 rebate. While I was preparing the rebate paperwork, I began to get really paranoid when I realized that the UPC I had to include contained the serial number and mac address of my new router. This info could be used to create a massive database of tying a MAC address to personally identifiable information, specifically your home address.

I'm not too comfortable knowing that someone could locate me like that, however I guess the online store I bought it from could just as easily have that same information. Likewise (or maybe even worse) PC manufacturers could easily keep details that link MAC addresses of a new machine's wireless card to buyer's name and address.

On the other hand, I'd bet my browser configuration and surfing habits could probably be used to identify me much better; at least data correlating my MAC address to my home address is limited to the system it's stored on or whomever the data gets sold to. Sadly I ran out of tinfoil today.

Re:Ignorance abounds (4, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953616)

If you don't want people to see the SSID of your AP, don't broadcast it.

Broadcasting an SSID is a strictly local affair - maybe within a range of 50 metres, tops. Having Google store the SSID and its location makes it a global issue. It makes it practical for the sort of government department we'd ALL prefer to keep away to hold and analyse this data.

However, the biggest problem I have with this sort of collection of data is that I was not asked if I minded having information regarding equipment I own collected by a third party, who then hold it and may pass it on to others without my permission, or even my knowledge.

Re:Ignorance abounds (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953778)

Broadcasting an SSID is a strictly local affair - maybe within a range of 50 metres, tops

Ever heard of a high gain antenna? If you think your Wi-Fi signals disappear after 50 meters you are in for a rude surprise.

Re:Ignorance abounds (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953824)

I have legal Wi-Fi connections going up to ~10 mile PtMP and ~20 Miles PtP. So yeah, Wi-Fi can reach MUCH further than ~50meters.

Thanks for your insight. (1)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953724)

Well said.

Re:Ignorance abounds (5, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953736)

If you don't want to be seen, don't go out in public.

And yet many countries have laws against following someone around, noting down their movements.

If you don't want people to see the SSID of your AP, don't broadcast it.

I don't care if people see my SSID. I may care that a company (which makes its money from selling targeted advertising) has recorded it and stored it in a database along with location details, photographs, etc. That is fundamentally different from my neighbours and casual passers-by being able to see a SSID of "home" as they pass my house.

Re:Ignorance abounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953856)

If I wasn't too lazy to login (and you weren't already modded +5) I would mod this up!

something to hide? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953472)

'Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide.'

What could I possibly have to hide, other than the fact that I'm wardriving around people's neighbourhoods? Oh no, wait a second...

WLAN location triangulation (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953474)

Google Maps provides WLAN-based location triangulation, on both phones and wi-fi capable computers. To do that, they look up the MAC addresses of visible wi-fi hotspots in a location database. Google is not the only company that does this via wardriving, and they at last have the sense to keep it secure enough that nobody can just look up your MAC address and get your geographic location. Unlike certain other wi-fi positioning systems. [wordpress.com]

Re:WLAN location triangulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953564)

Ahh... But someone within Google probably COULD misuse that info.

Re:WLAN location triangulation (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953740)

Please explain how.

Re:WLAN location triangulation (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953744)

Ahh... But someone within Google probably COULD misuse that info.

The point was Google doesn't, and there are three or four other companies doing the same thing that DOES.

So what you are saying is, you only have a problem with American companies that COULD \maybe\ do something to violate your privacy but doesn't... But when they cross the line and finally DO something to violate privacy, then you are perfectly OK with it?

So Google just needs to sell your routers physical location to anyone on the internet, and you should be happy!

The Reciprocal (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953478)

If I don't have anything to hide, then what logical reason do you have to spy on me?

Of course this applies to private companies just as much as government.

Re:The Reciprocal (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953654)

They want to spy because they're perverts.

Re:The Reciprocal (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953862)

Because the value of the data they are retrieving is not related to how "hidden" you want it? That's a nice counter when it's the government doing the 'spying', but in this case the answer is obvious.

And... (4, Interesting)

MrZilla (682337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953482)

'Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide.'

And what if I DO have something to hide? Will you then remove me from all of your databases and registers?

Re:And... (1)

Tuzanor (125152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953594)

If you have something to hide, HIDE it. Don't leave it in plain view. Don't leave it on an open WIFI network. Make the WIFI network hidden. Don't post on forums. Don't upload your pictures to flickr. Don't create a slashdot account. Don't do anything.

Re:And... (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953658)

what are you trying to hide?

Re:And... (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953630)

No, and that is why he said that. It was a statement of fact: Police can and will request that information, so you shouldn't be providing it if you want to hide it.

Re:And... (5, Insightful)

MonoSynth (323007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953662)

And what if I have nothing to hide for the current government but don't get the assurance that today's laws are tomorrow's laws?

With enough information in the hands of governments, it's very easy to change a law, criminalize something that was perfectly legal and find and eliminate most of the 'criminals' under those new laws.

I know I'm kind of invoking Godwin's law here, but in 1939 it was perfectly legal to be Jewish here in the Netherlands. In the 1930s the Dutch government made an almost perfect register of the whole population, so in 1940 it was very easy for the Nazis to eliminate almost all the Dutch Jews.

Re:And... (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953826)

Those people who say "if you have nothing to hide" have something to hide -- their ignorance or contempt for your intelligence. There are a lot of things that are not illegal you don't want known; adultery is legal in Illinois. Even in states where it may not be illegal, you still wouldn't want your girlfriend to know she's not the only one. You may be a closeted gay working for a right wing congresscritter, or a closeted conservative working for a left wing congresscritter. You might not want people to know that you watch Mickey Mouse cartoons. The list goes on.

Either Schmidt is stupid (and I don't buy that) or he thinks you are.

Aww.. (0, Offtopic)

invalid216 (1496711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953484)

Well isn't that the cutest thing.

Don't worry (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953486)

If you agree to pay a small monthly fee Google will not publicly display any personal information gathered from street view, including Mac addresses, photos of people leaving and entering premises and items found in routine garbage search.

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953588)

The thing is a mac address is not necessarily unique or at all personal.

Re:Don't worry (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953860)

I think you're confusing Google with the DEA.

Privacy (0, Troll)

jwest (21646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953504)

'Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide.'

This is the same argument conservatives made right before they instituted warrantless wiretaps and body searching old ladies at the airport.

Re:Privacy (4, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953644)

It is also not at all the argument he was making. But it's much more fun to just believe everything we hear on the internet rather than look up what he actually said!

Re:Privacy (1, Insightful)

will.perdikakis (1074743) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953704)

I am disgusted by statements like this. You really have to stand back and think about what Schmidt is saying here. Keep in mind that Schmidt is the CEO of one of the largest data hoarding companies in the world.

The decimation of privacy is almost embarrassing now.

250 years ago, an American citizen would fight and die for their own (and their fellow citizens) privacy and freedom. Now, if you read Schmidt's comment... it seems like you are guilty if you want to retain privacy. Extrapolate his comments to other fields:

-[Airline travelers] shouldn't worry about [taking their shoes off] unless they have something to hide.
-[High school students] shouldn't worry about [getting searched for weapons] unless they have something to hide.
-[Drivers] shouldn't worry about [DUI checkpoints] unless they have something to hide.
-[Internet Users] shouldn't worry about [privacy] unless they have something to hide.

I am amazed how quick we are to forfeit our rights in fear of being considered guilty.

When I was a child, there were no metal detectors or pat downs when I entered school. Our children will grow up in a world where this is the norm, so the envelop will continue to be pushed.

Where will it end?

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953794)

At the end of your lawn sir...No get off!

Schmid (5, Informative)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953508)

Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide.'"

No, actually, he said that if you have $SOMETHING to hide then doing stuff concerned with $SOMETHING on t'internet is not a smart idea.

I just don't see the issue (5, Interesting)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953516)

I know I'm supposed to be outraged about Street View. I'm trying, I really am. But the outrage just isn't there.

It's (generally) not illegal to take one picture of a storefront from your car. It's not illegal to take two, or three. Nor is it illegal to put those pictures on the internet. Google is just taking this process and deploying it on a larger scale than anyone previously had the resources for. I think it's the same with wireless networks. YOU have chosen to blast your MAC address into the ether for anyone within a certain radius to record, so why should you be surprised when someone does?

Google is just acting as an army of men with clipboards, no single one of whom is doing anything wrong, and for me it doesn't follow that there's something wrong when they do it en masse, provided they stick to public roads and take the privacy precautions (blurring faces, etc.) they have been.

Re:I just don't see the issue (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953554)

Personally I think the blurring faces part is stupid and unnecessary.. if people find that agreeable then they should be thanking Google for doing it. Instead we have people moaning about being photographed in public.

Re:I just don't see the issue (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953784)

Personally I think the blurring faces part is stupid and unnecessary

You might not think that if you were a domestic abuse victim trying to blend into the background of a new city without being located by someone.....

Re:I just don't see the issue (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953880)

Oh, cry me a river.

Re:I just don't see the issue (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953590)

The problem is that it is so large, well organized, and that they have the capability to process the information in large quantities. A single person who happens to see some minute public detail of your life is probably going to forget it within an hour, but Google is collecting vast amounts of data for analysis. The situation changes when an "army of men with clipboards" is roaming around, then bringing their data back and combining it all. The odds are stacked against an individual who might want to keep certain details of their life private when an organization as large as Google is trying to pry their lives open.

Re:I just don't see the issue (2, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953722)

The odds are stacked against an individual who might want to keep certain details of their life private when an organization as large as Google is trying to pry their lives open.

But Google isn't "prying", that's my point. They're collecting information that you have chosen to make available publicly, whether it's by placing it on the public Internet, or broadcasting it over EM waves where anyone nearby can pick it up. If you want privacy, don't announce your information in a public manner, and you will be off Google's radar. Google got blasted for Buzz (and deservedly so) because information that people thought they had selected as "private" was being made available, but that's not the issue here. If you're concerned with your MAC address being recorded, you need to learn how wireless networking works.

Re:I just don't see the issue (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953814)

It's (generally) not illegal to take one picture of a storefront from your car. It's not illegal to take two, or three. Nor is it illegal to put those pictures on the internet. Google is just taking this process and deploying it on a larger scale than anyone previously had the resources for.

There are things that can be done in the small scale that are not a problem, that become an issue when taken to the large scale. One example I deal with from time to time at work is aggregation of information - under the UK government's rules for handling of protectively marked ("classified") information, a collection of information each piece of which is marked at one classification, may together require a higher classification. For example, taken together, a collection of documents each marked at RESTRICTED may itself become CONFIDENTIAL (which significantly changes the way the collection is handled).

The fact that each individual photograph, etc is perfectly legal doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't serious privacy concerns surrounding building up such an all-encompassing database of them.

No, it doesn't follow that there *is* something wrong, but neither does it follow that there *is not*.

Quick! (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953518)

Quickly! Change all your MAC Addresses and SSIDs! That'll confuse 'em... Mwuhahahaaa. Yes, Google. I do live in Spain...

How did you think this worked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953524)

Google had been giving out locations based on WiFi signals for a long time... How did you think it worked if not by knowing where various WiFi hot spots were? Any one who is surprised by the fact that Google has a database of WiFi hot spots and their location please explain to me what magic Google was using to get locations from WiFi...

Bellwether (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953536)

It seems people tend to use the "nothing to hide" argument when they have something sneaky planned.

**Posting anonymously because I've got plenty to hide**

NOTE: Those weren't (apparently) his exact words (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953544)

That "quote" is somewhat disingenuous. For most news sources, i wouldn't care, but when it comes from The Register, or Light Reading (a/k/a The Enquirer of fiber optics), I want an exact quote -- because they're far too prone to insinuation and putting spin on things the way they want them to be perceived.

next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953562)

Googles just finding out how many networks there are out there for their google phones to not need any carrier sign up.
Full built in voip

OK, I have something to hide... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953570)

.There's a choice quote at the end: 'Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide.'

OK, let me take the learned man's position and agree that I have something to hide...so I should worry. Is it a crime to have something to hide? I thought not.

Now what? Yes, I have something to hide so I am worried about my privacy....so just go away Google. Just go away. Will you just leave me and my "stuff" alone please.

Re:OK, I have something to hide... (2, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953670)

OK, let me take the learned man's position

The learned man's position is to distrust what he is told by strangers, and check facts for himself.

You didn't do that.

Re:OK, I have something to hide... (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953692)

Yes, I have something to hide so I am worried about my privacy....

Still waiting for the part where you explain it's google's responsability to hide it for you.

If you indeed have something to hide, hide it. Don't spread it all around and then demand everyone else to not read it.

Re:OK, I have something to hide... (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953804)

OK, let me take the learned man's position and agree that I have something to hide...so I should worry. Is it a crime to have something to hide? I thought not.

Now what? Yes, I have something to hide so I am worried about my privacy....so just go away Google. Just go away. Will you just leave me and my "stuff" alone please.

Interest point you've raised here. The MAC addresses are a part of the internet protocol embedded in a device you own. The protocols are - presumably - licensed by the people who have sold you the device.

Part of that protocol is open broadcast of your address, so by buying said router under license and letting it broadcast, aren't you choosing to make said information public domain?

Alternatively, do you buy the MAC address along with the router. You purchase the physical hardware - and presumably the collection of bits inside - but does it say anywhere that the protocol you are using under license allows you to restrict access to that protocol implementation from any party you so desire to block?

Lawyers could have fun with this one...

Dear Google (1, Insightful)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953576)

Can you please explain how wardriving is not evil?

Oh, and, by the way, off course I do have something to hide. That is why it is called privacy.

Re:Dear Google (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953660)

if you haven't checked the box to disable broadcasting SSID then you aren't doing a very good job of hiding it

Re:Dear Google (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953696)

If you want to hide your SSID and the MAC of your router, why then are you broadcasting them into the public space? If this information is that important to you, switch to ethernet and disconnect that from the internet.

Re:Dear Google (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953806)

If you want to hide your SSID and the MAC of your router, why then are you broadcasting them into the public space? If this information is that important to you, switch to ethernet and disconnect that from the internet.

Most folks just don't know and just don't care. I mean, if you are stupid enough to leave your car doors unlocked, it doesn't mean that someone can get in to ride.

It just means that those who know might have to get a sense of responsibility to protect those who don't. Since so many others use that ignorance against people and they have no idea what is going on until it's too late.

Re:Dear Google (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953742)

It does not need to be explained, it's not wardriving. They are not connecting to peoples access points.

Re:Dear Google (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953768)

If you yell things in public places you can't expect people to not hear them, remember them, write them down if interesting.

If your access point broadcasts its ssid and mac address you can't expect devices to not see them, remember them, record them.

Re:Dear Google (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953776)

Please define wardriving and explain how Google is doing that, and then we'll have a discussion.

Until then you might as well be saying they're doing "drive-bys".

East (1)

patrikas (1704126) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953578)

I wonder if they are going to drive further to East Europe, post Soviet countries in particular as Google Maps services seem to be kinda dead for those.. not yet profitable ?

Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953580)

Whatever happened to 'don't be evil'?
Or does it only apply when it suits Google?

MAC to Facebook mapping? (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953586)

How on earth can you map the MAC (of assuming you wireless router) to a facebook account? Besides, it's the MAC which might be visible (don't know if it is) in the WIFI data a different one that the MAC used by the external interface which connects to the ISP?

Re:MAC to Facebook mapping? (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953710)

How on earth can you map the MAC (of assuming you wireless router) to a facebook account? Besides, it's the MAC which might be visible (don't know if it is) in the WIFI data a different one that the MAC used by the external interface which connects to the ISP?

It is different, but usually the WAN interface is next to it.

Also MAC addresses do not traverse the internet, they are only used between devices on the same network segment. As soon as your traffic gets passed through a router, the associated MAC info changes to the routers MAC. AFAIK.

Re:MAC to Facebook mapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953844)

Pretty easy, you create "cool apps" that can see both your PC and Facebook (such as Google Chrome), and let a lot of people use them.

(you can find the MAC-address of your access-point using ARP, a browser can do that too)

Re:MAC to Facebook mapping? (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953850)

How on earth can you map the MAC (of assuming you wireless router) to a facebook account?

You can't without packet sniffing

Besides, it's the MAC which might be visible (don't know if it is) in the WIFI data a different one that the MAC used by the external interface which connects to the ISP?

I don't quite understand this (wording) but yes, the MAC address of the router is different from the DSLAMs'

Origin of Privacy (4, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953628)

Oh dear, I wish he hadn't said that. I hope he does too. Even quoted a bit out of context (it was possibly a flip tagline), when you direct activities at the biggest datalogger around and have capabilities that most people regard as extremely penetrating, you just do not say anything that might scare people. Bad for business.

Many people do not understand why privacy is a right. As he says "Why worry if you have nothing to hide?" It is not from nothing: One word answer: PREJUDICE. Privacy is basically a right of self defense against prejudice (and malice too, for that matter). We all have good reason to be concerned about the impression we make upon others since they can often make arbitrary decisions that affect our interests.

Of course others have a right to relevant information, but we have a right to control how much beyond we choose to present, and to whom. We do have a right to be treated as individuals. Not products of some correlation -- statistics is _descriptive_, not prescriptive.

I use LINUX (5, Funny)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953656)

so I guess only people unsavvy enough to use MACs will have their addresses recorded! Whew!

Joke's on Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953678)

I don't use a Mac!*

* joke's on Slashdot too. They say Mac in the title instead of MAC.

I don't (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953700)

I don't have a mac address. I use PCs.

hide... (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953728)

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said internet users shouldn't worry about privacy unless they have something to hide.'
YOU don't have anything to actively search there in the first place.

Dear Mr. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953788)

please give me your signed agreement that I can look up any data about you available! -

Because for sure you have nothing to hide!

Scott McNealy, a decade ago said (1)

GuyFawkes (729054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953816)

there is no such thing as privacy, get used to it.

He was in a position to know which way the wind was blowing, and he called it, correctly.

Now I wonder what soundbite we will be hearing in 2020?

I am convinced Google = NSA (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953854)

what else?

Street View pictures to brief agents for action,

WiFi Hotspots for communication,

maybe also for eavesdropping.

google queries to see who looks for what

and even steering who sees what as a query answer.

-

no wonder China threw them out!

Just like Skyhook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31953868)

Isn't his pretty much the exact same thing that Skyhook has been doing for several years now? They've even been reported on on this very site, [slashdot.org] and yet the outrage, while there, wasn't nearly as bad as you guys seem to be going over Google doing this. It's nothing new, and consistency in how you direct your anger gives your argument that much more credence.

Media Access Control seems to be the key (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31953872)

Sen. Joe Biden (D) hinted at the "unique serial numbers" from the person's computer that p2p Fair play tracking software records.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9920665-7.html [cnet.com]
If this all connects together, someone has a worldwide passive database of useful links to computers or network cards.
You have files and public MAC addresses with timestamps.
Forget the ID of a suspect, just the propagation data could track a file down to a usable sneak and peek level.
Someone has put a lot of effort into finding the almost unique ID that stays with a product over its life, the Media Access Control number and down every street.
This closes the 'wireless hole' - the neighbour who got wireless and used weak or known or old security and allowed others to use their networks.
The strange MAC was noted, but never traced. A laptop is cleaned, sold on ebay and resurfaces.
Now an old MAC is linked to a new owner and the past seller used a CC?.
How are they detecting new MACs now would be my question?
Google and Fair play tracking gave the feds a historical snapshot, where are the new device numbers leaking out?
If you have vital data the lesson seems to be - stay away from networked computers
and return to family, friends, tribe, gang or enterprise -
the NSA had your parents fax, phone, google/the CIA has your MACs.
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