youfoundjake - 12:41 am on Jun 20, 2010 (gmt 0)
I found this from Danny Sullivan, and I think it helps put alot of this into perspective..one of the more soundness of mind responses to what has come to light out of all this.
Imagine that the transmissions you make on a wifi network to the sites you visit are like having a real-life conversation with someone on the porch of your house or the front yard.
As Google’s StreetView cars were like someone driving slowly down the street, recording all the front yard conversations that they could hear, as they went past.
Because the car is constantly moving, only a tiny bit of each conversation was being recorded. That’s the first thing that should be reassuring in all this — it’s not as if Google heard minutes or hours worth of what you were “saying” on the web.
Second, Google couldn’t understand all the conversations it was hearing. That’s because while the data was going out on an open wireless network, the conversation itself was encrypted. This is typically what happens if you go to a bank web site — a secure connection is established. It’s also what happens if you go to Google itself to read Gmail or use some other services.
In the metaphor, it’s as if some people were talking on the street were having a conversation in a language that only they and the other person could understand.
Third, there were some conversations that Google couldn’t understand at all, on wifi networks that had security running. In these cases, it’s as if Google could see that people were talking on their front lawn, but all they could hear was a mumble, nothing intelligible.
There’s no doubt Google has harvested a huge amount of data. Wifi “conversations” have been recorded since 2007, according to today’s blog post. But only snippets of those conversations have been stored, making the information fairly useless if it were to be mined — something Google doesn’t appear to have ever done nor plans to do, as it seeks to destroy the data.
And on that note, I'm going wardriving and uploading a virus that may later infect your machine while downloading the latest Lady Gaga album from a bit-torrent. I sure hope the RIAA stopped logging your IP Address. (tongue-in-cheek)