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Canada Says Google Wi-Fi Sniffing Collected Personal Data

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the coming-late-to-the-party dept.

Canada 136

adeelarshad82 writes "Canada's privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, has announced that Google's recent Wi-Fi sniffing was a serious violation of Canadians' privacy rights and included the collection of personally identifiable information. Stoddart's team, who traveled to Google's Mountain View headquarters to examine the data, found complete e-mails, e-mail addresses, usernames and passwords, names and residential telephone numbers and addresses. Google has been asked to do four things before the Canadian Government would consider the matter resolved."

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136 comments

.... COME ON! (5, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967286)

Google has been asked to do four things before the Canadian Government would consider the matter resolved

You're going to end the summary there? What a damn cliffhanger!

Re:.... COME ON! (5, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967306)

Double posting to answer my own question. Those 4 things are:

Put in place a governance model to ensure that privacy is protected when new products are launched;
enhance privacy training to foster compliance amongst all employees;
designate an individual responsible for privacy issues;
and delete the Canadian data

Re:.... COME ON! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33967938)

Only the 4th one would do much in this particular case, assuming Google's telling the truth. And if they're willing to lie, none of that is worth anything.

Re:.... COME ON! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968332)

Wrong wrong wrong.

1) Give the ca.gov the data
2) Give the ca.gov lots of money
3) Tell them in advance the next time they do this (to make advance arrangements for transfer of the data to ca.gov)
4) Tell no one else the terms of the settlement

Re:.... COME ON! (2, Insightful)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969594)

Are you kidding? Canada's government doesn't want information. They killed the long form because of how much they hate having information. The more ignorant they are, the more right they can believe they are!

Re:.... COME ON! (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969870)

I know Google is evil and all, but selling Canadian data to the Government of California [ca.gov] ? That's low, even for you, Schwarzenegger.

Re:.... COME ON! (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969878)

(Pssst, in case anyone's wondering, we use .gc.ca as our governmental "TLD", since the US won't let others use .gov, the hosers)

Re:.... COME ON! (1)

RussTHX (1099323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970638)

(Pssst, in case anyone's wondering, we use .gc.ca as our governmental "TLD", since the US won't let others use .gov, the hosers)

Other countries seem to use their second level domains freely, e.g. www.hmrc.gov.uk [hmrc.gov.uk] . Perhaps Canada doesn't for some other reason?

Re:.... COME ON! (1)

RussTHX (1099323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970654)

(Pssst, in case anyone's wondering, we use .gc.ca as our governmental "TLD", since the US won't let others use .gov, the hosers)

Other countries seem to use their second level domains freely, e.g. www.hmrc.gov.uk [hmrc.gov.uk] . Perhaps Canada doesn't for some other reason?

Ah, just understood; you're talking about the US not sharing the .gov TLD itself; my mistake. Can't say I blame them, though.

Re:.... COME ON! (1, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967768)

No, that's it. Just any four things. Google put on a hat, shaved, ate a pinecone, and made a collage celebrating Montreal. Canada was like, "A'ight."

Re:.... COME ON! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33967922)

No, that's it. Just any four things. Google put on a hat, shaved, ate a pinecone, and made a collage celebrating Montreal. Canada was like, "A'ight."

And Australia was all "WTF mate."

Re:.... COME ON! (1)

Mr. DOS (1276020) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968130)

...shaved...

Pretty sure you've got that backwards.

(Yes, I just made a beard pun. Sue me.)

Re:.... COME ON! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33969140)

No, that's it. Just any four things. Google put on a hat, shaved, ate a pinecone, and made a collage celebrating Montreal. Canada was like, "A'ight."

Obviously false. If you said Canada was like, "Ok, eh?" I might have believed you.

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Pay attention class... (1)

AceCaseOR (594637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967314)

This is why you encrypt your wireless network. Now, I'm hoping that Google has the good sense to implement the changes requested by Ms. Stoddart, and to go the extra mile and delete any collected data from other countries as well. If they don't delete it, I won't be surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised.

Re:Pay attention class... (0, Troll)

amfantasy (1150435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967370)

This is a country that is considering baning the KFC double down. Keep your logic to your own country

Re:Pay attention class... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967486)

We've got a bunch of crazy laws.

In the states, if you get caught downloading music, you get sued by Sony BMG...

In Canada, we basically assume you payed your blank media tax.

Re:Pay attention class... (4, Funny)

dogsbreath (730413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968374)

We've got a bunch of crazy laws.

In the states, if you get caught downloading music, you get sued by Sony BMG...

In Canada, we basically assume you payed your blank media tax.

You insensitive clod: it's not a tax; it's a fee.

Feel better?

Re:Pay attention class... (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968762)

Actually, it's a levy.

Re:Pay attention class... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969406)

Actually, it's a levy.

Yes, well those tend to break when it rains really hard. So just be careful downloading during a thunderstorm.

Re:Pay attention class... (1)

gagol (583737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968956)

Read many many more from dumblaws.com, hours of fun!

Re:Pay attention class... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968744)

Any country that would want to ban a sandwitch THAT cool (and tasty looking) is clearly screwed up beyond all hope of help.

Re:Pay attention class... (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969984)

and might survive the next hundred or so years without our hearts exploding. :P

Re:Pay attention class... (2, Interesting)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967492)

I'd consider another lesson worth of paying attention to: Google admitted the (wrongful) collection of data and took the steps to correct much faster than any other corporate I know (take FB for example).

Re:Pay attention class... (0)

master0ne (655374) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967566)

I think Google has offered to delete the data, but some goverments ordered them not to. If i were google, i wouldnt go the "extra mile" as it may cause them a law suite. I would contact the other goverments where data has been collected (which they already have) and try to work out a resolution with them that ends in deletion of the collected data (which is still pending in many countrys, see germany). I would like to see Google follow the purposed requirements, as well as take it a step further and possibly found or donate to some orginization that helps users and citizens protect their digital privacy.

Re:Pay attention class... (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967674)

I think Google has offered to delete the data, but some goverments ordered them not to. If i were google, i wouldnt go the "extra mile" as it may cause them a law suite. I would contact the other goverments where data has been collected

The answer should have been... "We already deleted it, sorry."

Why the heck would they announced that they inadvertently collected data, without guaranteeing its destruction first, so the data would be gone before anyone could dare ask for some order to request preservation?

Re:Pay attention class... (2, Insightful)

steeleyeball (1890884) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969054)

There is still no excuse for not securing your network... There really ought to be a test for using/accessing the internet akin to Amateur Radio licensing. If you can't take the trouble to secure your network, as minimal as that security is, then you are living in La La land and are safer without internet access. 128 bit encription is good enough against War Drivers, just not against someone who parks on your block and really tries to crack the encryption... Why bother when there are unsecured networks out there to connect to though.

Re:Pay attention class... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968096)

Well then. Mr Naive, Google, the largest information house on the planet, has all your datas, but its encrypted. And you think your 128bit encryption is going to keep your data secure. LOL.

Re:Pay attention class... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968400)

Here in Sweden plenty of people did that, but there was a TV documentary just a week or so ago about how the ISPs told people it didn't mattered whatever they used WEP or WPA so that's how they decided what to have ... Awesome.

Good people at those positions.

Re:Pay attention class... (3, Interesting)

Zygamorph (917923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969206)

If I remember correctly Google said they would keep the data until the Canadian authorities had stated they had finished examining it to determine what laws were breached. Once the evidence had been evaluated and they get authorization, they will delete it. Basically they are saying they won't delete evidence of a possible wrong doing until the appropriate authorities say it is OK. This means that they have to hold on to the data collected in each country until they get permission from that country's authorities. Sounds like and administrative nightmare.

Its also a perfect example of how the laws don't reflect how the technology was designed to work. WAPs are designed to handle two situations:

  1. I want to share with everybody, a.k.a "Open WAP"; and
  2. I want to share with only a select few, a.k.a. "Encrypted or closed WAP".

From the technology design point of view if you run across an open WAP then you "know" they want to share. If its closed then you know they don't. I agree that it gets very grey when you knowingly start to collect user ids and passwords. If its an automated download of everything that is available, sort of like a wget, then you can argue the stuff should have been secured.

The laws try to protect the group of people who are too lazy to learn how and why you should secure a WAP as well as your data. The problem is how to differentiate between those open WAPs that people want to share from those where people don't.

Canada wants that internet money (2, Funny)

xda (1171531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967372)

Was one of the 4 things " hey guy, we want to get in on some of that internet money" ?

Continuing the summary: (1, Redundant)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967376)

"Stoddart asked Google to do four things before she would consider the matter closed: put in place a governance model to ensure that privacy is protected when new products are launched; enhance privacy training to foster compliance amongst all employees; designate an individual responsible for privacy issues; and delete the Canadian data."

Article comment puts it best (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967396)

registraruser

October 19, 2010 8:07pm

Whoa! A company stored lists of patients with a medical condition and contact information on a computer connected to an *UNSECURED and UNENCRYPTED* wireless network, and we are supposed to believe that Google is the "bad guy"?

Re:Article comment puts it best (3, Insightful)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967676)

Sophomoric and stupid comment.

Stoddart is fulfilling her role in ensuring companies do not collect personal information from individuals (except under very specific circumstances). Doesn't matter if it's done through side-scan radar, digging through your trash, or WiFi sniffing... it's not legal in Canada.

Re:Article comment puts it best (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33967902)

Sophomoric and stupid comment.

Not true. Google recorded data that people were actively broadcasting in the clear for anyone in range to receive. Stoddard may be doing her job in determining what Google recorded and asking them to delete it, but it's not Google's fault that a lot of people are dumb enough to share their private information with anyone in hearing distance. Even a weak WPA or, if it can't be helped, WEP key is better than nothing whatsoever.

Re:Article comment puts it best (2, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968028)

Google recorded data that people were actively broadcasting in the clear for anyone in range to receive. /quote>

While true, it is not legal for a corporation to capture and store this data because it is still considered private.

(Incidentally I happen to agree with you, they were shouting the information to anyone who would listen.)

Re:Article comment puts it best (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968818)

If you give your social insurance number to your employer, should you expect they'll delete it when you leave the company?

In Canada you should. Even if you go and shout something on the street, a company doesn't necessarily have the right to retain the recording. It's not necessarily a problem if their microphone captures it, but it is if they knowingly keep it.

Re:Article comment puts it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968326)

Sophomoric and stupid comment.

How so?

Tossing medical records around unsecured would certainly run afoul of HIPAA [wikipedia.org] and some state laws [mass.gov] too.
(Massachusetts 201-CMR-1700 linked but I'm sure other states have or are implementing similar legislation)

Re:Article comment puts it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968394)

Including Canada, the 52nd State.

Re:Article comment puts it best (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968636)

Until the USA goes completely and utterly and Bushbarrackly bankrupt... then we will buy up the whole lot of you crackers and make you bend over and squeal like little piggies.

Thas it, just bend over thar and squeal for me.

Hyuck... hyuck.

  • Obligatory: Eh?

Re:Article comment puts it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968878)

Sorry, forgot to add to my comment:
"Why should Canada be so lenient?"

Though I see someone already jumped on my omission.

Re:Article comment puts it best (2, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967702)

Yes, we are, at least I am. Privacy is perceived different in different countries. Where in the US everything that is not happening in a private place is considered public, a lot of other countries feel that it is not so much the location as it is the person that has a right on privacy.

Doing the right thing is not the same as not doing anything illegal. So just because you can does not mean you must.

Re:Article comment puts it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33967822)

Parent is correct: the media is casting the story backwards. Using the media's logic, if I'm walking down the street and you flash me then I'm guilty of consuming pornography. Google didn't set out to record private information, what they recorded is data that people were actively broadcasting in the clear. Smack the idiots with the unencrypted WAPs, not those who were exposed to the broadcasts.

Re:Article comment puts it best (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970014)

the problem here is that it IS illegal in Canada to retain that data, even if it was handed to you (in this case via unencrypted broadcasts!). to protect people from themselves, Canada maintains laws that a company (or person/group) can only KEEP data that's not personally identifiable, unless the person they gathered information about waves that right.

Hypocrisy (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967406)

It's always funny to watch governments charge in and take the high road about collection of data.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967558)

It's always funny to watch governments charge in and take the high road about collection of data.

To me is self-evident - the high road is design for speed, therefore the govs can collect the data more efficiently and thus data collection costs the tax payers less! See? The govt takes care of you!

The Internet is not Secure. (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967422)

The Internet is not Secure.

Even less so when you broadcast your Internet packets to every antenna within several hundred yards.

Re:The Internet is not Secure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33967854)

we already do, the point here is about blasting those packets in plain text.

Re:The Internet is not Secure. (1)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967914)

The point is, secure or not, in Canada it's not legal for companies to collect individuals' personal information.

Re:The Internet is not Secure. (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968348)

so the fault is solely with those that did the collecting, and not those that let that data out in the first place? if you give me your info willingly then i may do WTF i want with it?

Re:The Internet is not Secure. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968842)

so the fault is solely with those that did the collecting, and not those that let that data out in the first place?

Not really a problem if they collect it accidentally. It is a problem if they keep it. That's why they've been asked to delete the data, and take steps to make sure they don't accidentally collect and retain it in future, instead of being charged or fined.

if you give me your info willingly then i may do WTF i want with it?

No you may not.

Re:The Internet is not Secure. (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970044)

yep, second the above poster.

in Canada, if a patient at a hospital walks outside and hands you his medical records, you cannot retain them.

if a person decided to walk down the street buck naked and you snap a picture, you MUST get their permission to keep or use that image.

in Canada, to prevent people from getting burned for leaking information they wanted to keep private: nobody can store/use the information they gathered without the consent of that person.

Re:The Internet is not Secure. (1)

elkawuf (1925674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968032)

Geeks know this. To really make the public understand the issue, though, they need to make a movie out of it.

"Mr. President, sir... it's our internets! They're leaking. At the rate we're losing data, our country will be buried in a syrupy mass of LOLcats, pictures of people's junk, and non-specific teenage angst within the month!"
"Can't we shut it down?"
"No sir... trying to plug the tubes now would just make them burst."

Re:The Internet is not Secure. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969442)

Geeks know this. To really make the public understand the issue, though, they need to make a movie out of it.

They did. It was called "Hackers", and John Q. Public never understood a word of it, being thoroughly distracted by a young Angelina Jolie.

Re: Your trashcan is not Secure. (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968456)

The Internet is not Secure.

I like the trash example above. Your trashcan is not secure. Does that make it alright to dig through your trashcan and store the inventory of it in a database?

Re: Your trashcan is not Secure. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968520)

If it's in your yard, no. When it's out on the street, yes. If you dump it up and down the street, then very much yes.

Essentially, when you use unencrypted wi-fi, you are dumping your trash-can up and down the street, and you have no expectation of privacy.

If you want your trash to be protected by the 4th Amendment, leave the can on your property behind a gate and hire a non-government trash company that promises to keep it out of plain sight during transport and dump it out of plain sight on private property or destroy it. If you want your trash to be secure from everyone, destroy it yourself.

Re: Your trashcan is not Secure. (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970048)

If you want your trash to be protected by the 4th Amendment,

then try moving to the united states.

What about the companies that leaked the info? (2, Interesting)

fuyu-no-neko (839858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967432)

In this case, I'd be more worried about the companies that are transmitting sensitive information over unsecured wireless networks than I am about Google. If Google can pick up such information by accident, then less trustworthy types can probably pick up similar information intentionally. Unfortunately I expect that such companies are going to get off with no repercussions as everyone gets distracted by going after Google.

the "beaming it through my body" principle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33967438)

If you beam it through my body, I reserve the right to listen to it.

Same for google. If you don't want them listening, encrypt what you spew out to the entire world.

If you shout something from the rooftops, don't bitch when somebody overhears it.

Re:the "beaming it through my body" principle (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968058)

If you shout something from the rooftops, don't bitch when somebody overhears it.

They're not bitching because someone is overhearing it.

They're bitching because someone is carefully recording it, cataloging it, pinning your name on it, and selling the information to anyone who wants it.

Re:the "beaming it through my body" principle (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968674)

But what if they don't know they're shouting it.... these are people who think windows is good enough for them and are willing to pay best buy to get rid of their viruses:

How are they going to know their computer is leaking unencrypted data?

In other news... (0, Redundant)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967522)

Canada just filed a reverse class action suit against tens of thousands of Internet routers for briefly possessing the same information.

I really have to wonder... (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967656)

...just how much of an "invasion of privacy rights" it is when all you have to do is come whizzing by in a camera car to intercept all of this supposedly "private" data. If you're spewing a cloud of personal information around the neighborhood that's unencrypted, unlocked, and unfettered in any way, then I don't think you can expect any more privacy than someone who's in their house and beating the crap out of their spouse so loudly that the entire block can hear it from the street. At some point people are going to have to realize that being on the interwebs doesn't just magically make all of your secrets completely invisible to everyone but those evil Ukranian hax0rs. If it's not encrypted, it's public. Period.

Wrong Target (1)

rickzor (1838596) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967662)

Google has provided north america (and the world) with a good lesson, to encrypt your personal data.

Teaching users not to publicly broadcast their web activity would prevent many other issues than Google's recent steetview scandal, and just announcing that Google is evil and violating everyones privacy is going to be a lot less effective in the long run. Especially when in this case "Privacy" is being broadcast in plain text over public radio waves.

Expectation of Privacy (5, Interesting)

bem (1977) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967690)

If you stand on a public street, it is legal to take pictures of anything you see: there is no expectation of privacy in public.

If you stand naked in your front yard, you have no expectation of privacy.

If you stand on your front porch and shout out your Visa number, you have no expectation of privacy.

If you buy a toy AM transmitter from Radio Shack and broadcast your SSN, you have no expectation of privacy.

But put it in cleartext on an 802.11g router... and you expect privacy?

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968078)

If you stand on a public street, it is legal to take pictures of anything you see: there is no expectation of privacy in public.

This is not necessarily the best analogy. Arguably if you stand on a public street with a high powered telephoto lens and take pictures of someone through a small opening in the drapes of a window....the story may be different.

Personally, I do agree with you that people using unencrypted wireless shouldn't expect it to be private--however, since most people are uneducated in this area they in fact do expect privacy and therefore the law grants it to them.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968168)

The police dispute the first statement and may harm you or damage your property in retaliation.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

mungewell (149275) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968422)

In Canada it is permitted to listening in on _Analogue_ radio signals, providing that the information is not used in action of a crime and is not re-broadcast/told to others.

However listening _Digital_ transmissions are _NOT_ permitted, so in fact Google did break Canadian law by receiving the said data, even if by mistake. They would be extremely unwise to have done/do anything with data-mining the data.

Mungewell.
PS. As people are generally stupid, I have to point out I am not a lawer and could be completely mistaken on my view of reality.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968452)

What about cellphone transmissions?

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969868)

What about cellphone transmissions?

In Canada, unlike the US, it was perfectly acceptable to intercept cellphone signals (the US barred receivers from the 850MHz cellphone ban, something that was only enforced economically in Canada (because US made equipment wasn't unblocked for Canada)).

However, the law has said that while you can listen in on any radio transmission, unless it's for public consumption, you cannot utilize the contents. So if someone gives you a hot stock tip, you are technically bound to not use it. Or if someone broadcasts their credit card number - you can hear it, but you can't use it (nevermind the credit card fraud).

Basically, yes, you can receive it for interest's sake, that's about it. You're individually expected to maintain the privacy between the parties involved still. Corporations are even under harsher terms than this, them having more resources to scrub the data they get.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968562)

But put it in cleartext on an 802.11g router... and you expect privacy?
Under anti hacking laws in parts of the world, your network, you formed with a pw, website, IM does get full privacy protection under the law.
The quality of the pipe is not a consideration. As a non gov sanctioned effort, no data collection and storage.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (3, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968862)

Strangely, Canadian privacy law seems to make a distinction between individuals and corporations. If I hear you yell out your credit card number on the street I can write that in my diary (but I can't USE it for anything). If a corporation hears you, it is NOT allowed to write it in it's diary.

As for radio, if I hear you broadcast your SSN on the radio, I may listen, but I may not use that information, or tell anyone about it. I think that one is actually the same in the US.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

smart_ass (322852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969862)

In Canuckistan we have SINs (Social Insurance Numbers) not SSNs

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970068)

Yes... I have lived here for thirty some years. It helps to translate for the 'mericans though.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

nbossett (1835098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968898)

"expectation of privacy" can have the legal meaning (whether others are prohibited from violating it) or the common sense meaning (whether it's likely that privacy will not be maintained). Also, whether or not there's an expectation of privacy, in each of your examples the law may well restrict what others are allowed to do. An example would be eavesdropping on some types of radio chatter not intended for you: it may not be encrypted, but it can also be illegal for others to listen in.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968908)

"But put it in cleartext on an 802.11g router... and you expect privacy?"

Yes since most people are morons and don't understand the implications. The whole idea that the "user knows best" is flawed. Things like network names on identifiable computers can be mapped geographically using googles techniques to identify who people are, their incomes, occupations, their behavior patterns, etc. When you use the internet and couple those usage patterns with even more data like google maps and Wifi scanning you get even more vectors for accurately determining who people are and what they do, building up a more and more accurate profile of human beings. The fact that this is all going on in violation of other countries laws is the issue.

I'm sure Google and the american government are extremely close, Google and the internet is like the ultimate spy machine. I can only imagine the kinds of files they can build on people from espionage techniques applied to the world public at large.

This kind of information is great for propaganda and other purposes.

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969234)

you forgot to say, "in America."

Re:Expectation of Privacy (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970088)

somebody already said this, but you forgot to put "in america" at the bottom.

in Canada, almost every statement you made is false.

if you stand on a public street, you cannot take pictures of people without consent forms, any trademarked items without consent from the owner, even structures without consent from the architect.
if you stand on your porch naked, PEOPLE cannot take your picture. hell, even if you go streak down main street in a major city they still cant. (they can, but cannot retain that data unless you consent to it. )
if you literally hand out photocopies of your visa, people are legally required to securely dispose of them unless they have a reason to believe they should have access to that data.
the AM bit is exactly what this is about. in canada, you can broadcast that, and anybody that would write it down, or remember it and use it at some point HAS broken the law.
and your last line there is just a different flavor of the AM one. you can tell your life story to someone over coffee and if they ever try to use those details without consent: they broke the law.

Canada has some of the toughest privacy laws anywhere.

just goes to show: I guess we all have big secrets to hide.

Corporate Consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33967750)

Note what the Canadian government is demanding of Google.

Now, let's say I (personally) get some wifi-sniffing war driving gear and go around Canada collecting information the same way.
Do you think I (as an individual) will face the same consequences as Google, or something more harsh?

Re:Corporate Consequences (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969902)

Something less harsh.

Google defenders (0, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#33967850)

This company's CEO actually said that only people who have something to hide care about privacy. They were caught archiving WiFi network information--not just collecting it, but "accidentally" storing it. Sure, the company that wants to collect and index everything forgot to configure its network scanners and data archivers properly. Android is manipulated and controlled by the carriers who are slapping on unremoable junkware.

It's as if readers of Slashdot are stuck in a 2000 time warp where Google is the benevolent upstart using cheap Linux computers. This is not some friendly open source company--their search engine is as closed source as ever. They offer free services like email and web browsing to get your data indexed for advertising purposes.

I just keep waiting for the backlash to happen. It happened with Apple--every Apple story on Slashdot now gets overrun with haters. Apparently, Google can flat-out tell everyone it doesn't give a shit about privacy, and many Slashdotters don't care.

Re:Google defenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968194)

So, I hear the food at Facebook kinda sucks. Is that true?

Re:Google defenders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970118)

Thats because privacy from governments is what we should fear.

Privacy from companies? They just want to sell us stuff.

20 years ago people said dont use your real name online.
10 years ago people said dont use your photo online
Today they say dont give your address out online

Meh. The next generation of people wont care and this sort of concern will make its supporters seem like dinosaurs.

is it me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33967868)

is it me or is every goverment trying to find some ways to get some income from big companies?

"hey, that violated the rights of our people, pay and all is forgiven."

Re:is it me (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33969030)

What bothers me more is that governments are using this breach as an excuse to make google cough up information to the authorities that they'd otherwise have had to get a warrant for.

Do any of those four involve money changing hands? (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968002)

Shucks; now I'll have to RTFA.

And if it's not resolved... (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968004)

...then what?

Re:And if it's not resolved... (1)

RavenChild (854835) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968318)

Canada is going to send the four requests again... in FRENCH!

Re:And if it's not resolved... (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 3 years ago | (#33970234)

Acadian or Quebecois?

MuHAHAHAHA!! First, give them free stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968060)

Then after they are hooked, suck them dry !!

All your bases are belong to google !!

Yeah, this is nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968134)

Google momentarily captured information transmitted over WiFi, in the clear. - Not alarming.

People discover that it contains PII and sensitive information. - Alarming

People get mad at Google for having captured it. - Ridiculous, literally "shooting the messenger." I s'pose people would rather Google had not told them, so they could just continue transmitting their PII for all their neighbors to see in peace?!

Who Cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968212)

The scariest thing about this Google sniffing and data collection is not that it was supposedly done "accidentally" (that excuse never worked for bank robbers, although it has worked for murderers). The scariest thing is Britain's response to this unauthorized and "accidental" data collection:

Data protection authorities in the U.K. said this week that they are satisfied that Google's recent unauthorized Wi-Fi data collection did not include any meaningful personal data about residents in the region.

Which is not surprising, considering the fact that they live in a panopticon society.
- Ref:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2367101,00.asp [pcmag.com]

Though Britain's response may sound ignorant and offensive, this isn't quite so bad as some other European countries that have a history of abuse and human rights violations:

Google will turn over data its Street View cars accidentally collected over Wi-Fi networks to German, French and Spanish data protection authorities, according to a report in the Financial Times and confirmed by Google.

So according to these governments, if abuse has occurred, they want to keep all the details about the victims, and only publicly scold the perpetrator.

But who cares? It's back to the Sports Network for me...

Time to activate the Canadian Armed Forces (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968344)

There are enough of us in place near Google to launch a tactical strike and bring their servers to a dead stop.

all a big mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968550)

When this happen in Australia, Google said it was just a programming error, but if it has happened in at least two countries then I would expect that it happened on a global scale.

Maybe don't be evil was a mistake. (1)

debus (751449) | more than 3 years ago | (#33968600)

Perhaps it should have been don't be stupid.

Why on earth they kept this data is beyond me. If you want to get info on wifi hotspots, that's one thing. Actually storing the data sent over those hotspots is absurdly stupid for a company as large as google. They have lawyers, they should have known better.

What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33968784)

Next, we'll probably see people complaining because they had their bank statements taped to their windows (facing out) when the Street View car drove by. Fucking retarded.

Dumb Nigger .... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33969814)

Whats Uzz tank. Wezz dozz dat for now on 20 yrz. Dumb fuck. Yuz nedz uz panties wipz dumb nigger.

no privacy, so act like it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970038)

You will never have privacy on the internet if you aren't encrypting everything, regardless of what the government is doing. The government is acting in a way that will encourage people to use the internet as if they have no anonymity. This will result in leaking fewer secrets and generally providing a less valuable pool of information to those who might be interested in harvesting from it.

I saw this on the news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33970100)

And when I saw it there, I thought: what the hell! Google didn't leave these access points wide open, some idiot left these access points open. Free kiddie porn without any connection to the person requesting it. Al Queda can send all the traffic they want on unlocked wifi sites. Google points out that some dumbass left their site open (fair warning, if you want it closed, then CLOSE IT, don't shoot the messenger, deal with the message). BUT NO, they go after Google. Google could have (rightfully) assumed that any open WIFI site meant for that site to be open, and is providing a service to users of its services (internet cafes and so on). Didn't want your private home network showing up on the Googs map of open sites? CLOSE THEM! Sometimes blame is really incorrectly placed.

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