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Google Street View WiFi Appears To Have Collected Email and Passwords
phranque




msg:4155139
 3:10 am on Jun 19, 2010 (gmt 0)


System: The following message was cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/goog/4147311.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 10:26 am on Jun 19, 2010 <small>(utc +1)</small>


Google's Street View Wi-Fi data included passwords, email | Networking - InfoWorld [infoworld.com]
At the time, Google said it only collected "fragments" of personal Web traffic as it passed by, because its Wi-Fi equipment automatically changes channels five times a second. However, with Wi-Fi networks operating at up to 54Mbps, it always seemed likely that those one-fifth of a second recordings would contain more than just "fragments" of personal data.

That has now been confirmed by CNIL, which since June 4 has been examining Wi-Fi traffic and other data provided by Google on two hard disks and over a secure data connection to its servers.

"It's still too early to say what will happen as a result of this investigation," CNIL said Thursday.

"However, we can already state that [...] Google did indeed record email access passwords [and] extracts of the content of email messages," CNIL said.

... according to the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL)

[edited by: engine at 9:27 am (utc) on Jun 19, 2010]
[edit reason] extended quote [/edit]

 

incrediBILL




msg:4155443
 2:03 am on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

use the data any way they feel like.


Just how much "data" you do think they can gather in a drive by?

You just get a few packets and you're out of range.

Besides, Google has clearly stated the purpose was to use wifi networks to enhance their navigation product and as a user of Google navigation I can appreciate that it reacts faster than GPS alone just by knowing where those networks exist.

All of this privacy hysteria is silly because open wifi isn't private.

No amount of legislation can make it private, it's not.

Maybe these open wifi's need to broadcast the following to opt-out:
<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex, noarchive">

The upside is when I go war driving nobody is suspicious because it doesn't say "Google" on the side of my car ;)

londrum




msg:4155544
 10:13 am on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just how much "data" you do think they can gather in a drive by?

i agree. google is doing nothing wrong... so long as their car keeps moving and doesnt stop at any traffic lights to prevent them picking up more than a few packets

PCInk




msg:4155555
 11:12 am on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

google is doing nothing wrong...


Can you clarify in which country that they did nothing wrong?

I say this because in the UK, you need to have the network owners permission to access it by law. It doesn't matter if the network is secure or not, the law doesn't specify. It doesn't matter how much data you send or receive.

Therefore, you will find they have probably done nothing wrong in some countries, but may well have broken the law in others.

StoutFiles




msg:4155582
 2:35 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)


With your methapor, not only isn't the door locked, but all the furniture was tossed out on the lawn with a sign "TAKE ME - I'M FREE"


Because most people are computer stupid. They don't realize it's important to password protect their router, hell, they wouldn't even know how. Just the fact they got the damn thing to work is good enough.

The local bar has just now offered WiFi, in which the name of the router was linksys. Heh, factory settings. I logged into the router admin console with my phone and changed the name of the router to the bar's name, if only to deter others from messing with it.

You're all advacating that if someone doesn't protect their router that we get to have a free for all on it. Is that really fair? When businesses aren't even protecting their router there's clearly a lack of knowledge about how to protect your WiFi and the importance of it.

Nobody would KNOWINGLY broadcast their passwords in plain text. Google has taken advantage of stupid people, and I think the courts will decide it was wrong.

Fern




msg:4155600
 4:06 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can't believe the people here who say if you work on an open network you 'get what you deserve'. Seriously?

When you get robbed or one of your friends and family get robbed/defrauded, I'm going to clap my hands with you and rejoice by saying your philosophy: you get what you deserve.

incrediBILL




msg:4155627
 5:41 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google has taken advantage of stupid people, and I think the courts will decide it was wrong.


Actually, Google has forced stupid people to smarten up and they probably don't even know it.

If you use Gmail as your email it's in HTTPS, totally secure over wifi, not a problem.

If you use Google Docs it uses HTTPS as well, not a problem.

Overall, Google has done quite a bit to make sure their products are safe on wifi.

Yahoo mail on the other hand, not so much.

When you get robbed or one of your friends and family get robbed/defrauded, I'm going to clap my hands with you and rejoice by saying your philosophy: you get what you deserve.


That's just mean spirited, nothing about insecure technology.

But following the metaphor, there is no robbery in open wifi, your friends and family walk down the street tossing money around for anyone to grab.

blend27




msg:4155628
 5:50 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Actually, Google has forced stupid people to smarten up


That is the only positive thing on their part when it comes to this subject.

When some one takes something that they are not supposed without permission, in my book itís called THEFT. When the same someone goes Extra Mile developing intelligent software to help them out while they are at it, it's called preparation for the Act of Crime. That is how I undestand it, Basicaly.

TheMadScientist




msg:4155632
 6:00 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's just mean spirited, nothing about insecure technology.

So is calling people who don't know there are people like you who enjoy going for a drive to sniff out their systems stupid.

Actually, Google has forced stupid people to smarten up and they probably don't even know it.

The upside is when I go war driving nobody is suspicious because it doesn't say "Google" on the side of my car...

Thanks for sharing your level of integrity and what's probably the real reason behind wanting this action to be upheld as right and the victim who probably doesn't know blamed for Google's and your actions. As long as Google can you can too, right? Keep the Faith... They've probably got better attorneys than you can afford, so you might piggy-back a win out of the situation.

Have fun taking advantage of those stupid people you so look down on, even though many of them may simply be more trusting, or heaven forbid, uninformed... Hopefully for your sake and that of Google's there are not laws in place to protect those people from the condescending, intelligent few.

BTW: Mobile phone signals can still be cracked...
It's tougher now and way more expensive, but it can still be done, that's why I was thinking 'unencrypted'.

kaled




msg:4155637
 6:29 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

In most western countries (including the US probably) this would be illegal - if a government agency tried it, heads would roll.

This being the case, you have to ask why Google did it - they must have known that it was most-likely illegal. However, given that most wifi connections are encrypted, you have to wonder again, why Google did it - no useful data could result.

Now, if Google had used special software that sent out warning messages telling people to encrypt their wifi connections, that would have been a useful service, but listening in to fragments of conversations is pointless.

If this is ruled illegal (as it should be) then a fine for every breach should follow - say Ä100. Maybe then, Google will think twice about making stupid mistakes of this sort. To me, this comes down to respect and consideration for other people - commodities that seems to be in short supply at Google.

Kaled.

ChanandlerBong




msg:4155653
 7:29 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

staggering levels of elitism in this thread. Glad to see everyone paid attention to what was said in feedback thread a few weeks ago.

londrum




msg:4155663
 8:15 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

so the best way to protect people is to let google loose on them. then they will smarten up. so they are actually doing a good deed and we should thank them.

maybe BP should employ incredibill to defend the oil spill. he's pretty good at this PR stuff.

Staffa




msg:4155666
 8:34 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you use Gmail as your email it's in HTTPS, totally secure over wifi, not a problem.

If you use Google Docs it uses HTTPS as well, not a problem.

Overall, Google has done quite a bit to make sure their products are safe on wifi.


but then it's no problem for G that it can't sniff this info for there is no need to it is already in their hands, isn't it ?

cwnet




msg:4155670
 8:43 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

@incredibill and other defender of criminal actions

I have said it in the older thread and say it again:

Google broke the law in numerous countries including the US by sniffing and recording data without consent of data owners.

Google admitted doing this (claiming they did this unintentionally and by error)

It is now up to law authorities to decide how to handle the case (after all their seems to be no harm done and as a first time offender Google may get away with a slap on the wrist).

Make no mistake: Sniffing and recording data from unsecured wifi is a criminal act. Even in the US.

No need to believe me. Simply check with your local lawyer BEFORE you reply.

[edited by: cwnet at 8:54 pm (utc) on Jun 20, 2010]

TheMadScientist




msg:4155675
 8:54 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Make no mistake: Sniffing and recording data from unsecured wifi is a criminal act. Even in the US.

You mean there are actually smart people who wrote the laws and already thought of things like this and the laws of the US actually protect the 'stupid' people who don't know any better, so other 'smart' people who don't have any respect for the 'stupid' people can't legally take advantage of the 'stupidity' of the masses? Go Figure...

cwnet




msg:4155677
 8:56 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes Sir!

cwnet




msg:4155678
 9:03 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Of course, the 'stupid people' don't know they are protected by laws and therefore the 'smart people' have a good chance to get away with their illegal actions.

'smart people' in this context may mean people with not ethics, no moral and, in general people who should be removed from the gene pool.

buckworks




msg:4155682
 9:12 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

data owners


I will cheerfully join those who bemoan Incredibill's lack of diplomatic finesse, but I agree with his basic point that there is no reasonable claim of privacy when one is scattering things that one "owns" around public space, unencrypted.

Unsecured wi-fi is a broadcast medium.

The Google vehicles were travelling on public ground as they passed through all those little broadcast areas.

This is going to be an interesting case to watch.

[edited by: buckworks at 9:16 pm (utc) on Jun 20, 2010]

incrediBILL




msg:4155683
 9:15 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Make no mistake: Sniffing and recording data from unsecured wifi is a criminal act. Even in the US.


Make no mistake: you'll never know it's happening until someone actually connects with the network.

@incredibill and other defender of criminal actions


Not defending it at all.

I'm just concerned about security and I'm sorry that I can't share by showing how easy it is without being labeled.

Wifi sniffers are freely available, it's undetectable to see the "crime" happen, and as long as technically inept legislators write well meaning but stupid laws instead of simply outlawing the flawed technology and giving the industry a few years to correct the problem, it will simply continue to be a source of abuse.

Guess education and correction isn't welcome so bring on legislation that does nothing.

I will cheerfully join those who bemoan Incredibill's lack of diplomatic finesse


I prefer the phrase "tough love"

cwnet




msg:4155684
 9:21 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here we go again: wi-fi is NOT a broadcast medium. Do me, yourself and everybody who reads this thread a favour and look up what defines a broadcast medium.

The major point defining a broadcast medium is the INTENT to reach a BROAD audience. My unsecured wi-fi certainly is NOT a broadcast medium.

buckworks




msg:4155687
 9:31 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

One of the definitions of "broadcast" from the MacMillan Dictionary:

[TRANSITIVE] to tell people something, especially something that you wanted to be a secret

cwnet




msg:4155691
 9:35 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

@incredibill Thanks for clarifying that you do not defend the criminal act of sniffing.

And, I agree with you that wi-fi is an unsecure technology by definition.

However, the simple point remaining is: Just because the technology is flawed and the unwashed masses don't know better does not make it morally, ethically or legally acceptable that people/corporations sniff and record wi-fi data without consent of data owners for whatever reason (no, this is not a opt-out scenario).

For some reason law-makers around the world agree on this and there is no reason I can see that these laws don't apply for Google.

cwnet




msg:4155692
 9:40 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

@buckwords

thank you for mudding the discussion.

As a non-native English speaker I am still trying to fully understand the meaning of TRANSITIVE but I am afraid it comes down to symantic bla bla. I will be back once I have the feeling I understand that word.

cwnet




msg:4155696
 9:51 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

@buckwords

One of the worst things you can do in a discussion is to SELECVTIVELY use references to make your point.

Your source, the MacMillan Dictionary actually defines 'broadcast' primarily as:

[intransitive/transitive] to send out messages or programmes to be received by radios or televisions broadcast (something) on something

Me thinks, that is very different to a wi-fi connection that comes with my router that is bsically meant to enable me to surf the internet (from the perspective of a regular un-educated web user).

buckworks




msg:4155698
 9:54 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm curious, Cwnet ... where would you draw the moral lines for the "unwashed masses" who so easily subject themselves to hazards they don't understand?

To use an example from earlier in the thread, outside of a serious emergency situation, no one I know would consider it acceptable for a stranger to walk into their house just because the door had been left unlocked. But if the owner had never bothered to install a lock or get a key made, how much is he allowed to whine if someone does walk in?

cwnet




msg:4155699
 9:58 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Back on topic:

Google broke the law of numerous countries including the US by sniffing and recording data from unsecured wi-fi without consent of data owners.

This is a criminal act in many countries including the US.

Google admitted doing so.

buckworks




msg:4155700
 9:59 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

that is bsically meant to enable me to surf the internet


That much I'll agree with ... but as a practical fact, unsecured wi-fi spreads your signals over the airwaves into public space where anyone with the right equipment can read them.

buckworks




msg:4155701
 10:00 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

criminal act in many countries


Please give us some examples of specific laws that you think would apply here.

cwnet




msg:4155704
 10:08 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

@buckworks

It may sound weird to you but if the owner of a house does not bother to install a lock or get a key made and someone walks into his home we have a perfect case of trespassing. Trespassing is a crime and will be punished (again, don't believe me, ask your lawyer).

Maybe an unfair question: Do you personally believe that YOU are entitled to walk into someone elses home if their is no lock to stop you? And, to take things a little bit further. Since you are there you might as well take the stereo, the tv, the pc and whatever else you want with you. Do YOU personally believe you are entitled to do so because there are no locks?

incrediBILL




msg:4155705
 10:09 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here we go again: wi-fi is NOT a broadcast medium.


It has an option right in the wifi box to "Broadcast SSID", likewise wifi technical sites refer to the broadcast beacon and probe-response frames.

Sorry, I don't make that broadcast stuff up

It may sound weird to you but if the owner of a house does not bother to install a lock or get a key made and someone walks into his home we have a perfect case of trespassing.


Yes, but the purpose of locking doors and windows is to prove forced entry when robbed.

If you don't secure the network, you have no real proof it was deliberately hacked considering many devices being sold auto-connect to open networks.

cwnet




msg:4155710
 10:15 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, I do get your point (I think). "Everything is cool as long as I will not be prosecuted."

That is the point you are trying to make, right?

cwnet




msg:4155714
 10:22 pm on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

@buckworks 'specific laws'

The German law that applies is called Telekommunikationsgesetz - it basically says that sniffing of communication (including wi-fi, secured or not) may be punished with jail time of up to 2 years or a monetary fine. If you search, you will find similar laws in most civilized countries.

The law in German (German Department of Justice)
[bundesrecht.juris.de...]

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