Has Google become big brother??


Technology

The Exchange

Google's Wi-Fi Spying: What Were They Thinking?


A gaffe to be sure and maybe there should be a law suite. However I don't see this as actually being of any significant detriment to the citizenry.

The amount of time they were in the radius of any individuals wifi was maybe 10 seconds at most. The chances that anyone was doing anything of interest in that period is remote. They'd have to sift through a lot of data to find the odd case of something doing something interesting and even if they went through the trouble what do they expect to do with data from such a random group of people? I can't see anything worth any kind of money here - in fact the whole mess will likely cost them a fair bit and has no upside for them.

Liberty's Edge

In all fairness, having an unsecured wireless network is akin to printing out your online activity and covering your house with the paper.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

Seems to have been a mistake falling down to one specific engineer. Hard to fault the entire company especially when they just realized it was occurring and publicly acknowledged it.

That's something you'd expect a media freak out if it was oh say.....a president who authorized warrantless wire tapping?

The Exchange

Scipion del Ferro wrote:

Seems to have been a mistake falling down to one specific engineer. Hard to fault the entire company especially when they just realized it was occurring and publicly acknowledged it.

That's something you'd expect a media freak out if it was oh say.....a president who authorized warrantless wire tapping?

And yet some people are doing just that. Thinking Google was used and is now saying oops we didn't mean to.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Crimson Jester wrote:
Scipion del Ferro wrote:

Seems to have been a mistake falling down to one specific engineer. Hard to fault the entire company especially when they just realized it was occurring and publicly acknowledged it.

That's something you'd expect a media freak out if it was oh say.....a president who authorized warrantless wire tapping?

And yet some people are doing just that. Thinking Google was used and is now saying oops we didn't mean to.

And those people are commonly known as idiots. That said, Google is becoming Big Brtoher but only because we keep voluntarily giving it all our information. So you can't really fault it so much.

The Exchange

Paul Watson wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
Scipion del Ferro wrote:

Seems to have been a mistake falling down to one specific engineer. Hard to fault the entire company especially when they just realized it was occurring and publicly acknowledged it.

That's something you'd expect a media freak out if it was oh say.....a president who authorized warrantless wire tapping?

And yet some people are doing just that. Thinking Google was used and is now saying oops we didn't mean to.
And those people are commonly known as idiots. That said, Google is becoming Big Brtoher but only because we keep voluntarily giving it all our information. So you can't really fault it so much.

Well google and facebook.

Idiots...maybe, paranoid defiantly.


Now they don't want to turn over the data they collected so that the German government can see what they collected.
They are happy to destroy but not to allow others to know what they gathered (apparently).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

Cracked does Google.

The end is really the best part.


OK, let me tell you what is really irritating about all this: the half-baked references to 1984. What happened here has no remote connection to the novel or any of the ideas Orwell presented. None, whatsoever.

Secondly, the hyperbole and ridiculous alarmist phraseology, Google was "secretly collecting your private data," along with all the sensationalist CIA comparisons, does nothing but encourage ignorant raving by people who only remember the headline 10 minutes after scanning the article.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

Sadly that's how our media works. The title implies this was something that Google as a corporation decided to do when it was the mistake of one individual.

It should read

Google Engineer's Mishap Leads to Data Collection


It is stupid to leave wireless networks unprotected, sure. But google using a software developed by one of its engineers (in his spare time?) for several years in their cars and calling it an accident when caught red-handed does nothing to make the company any more trustworthy. If they did not want to use that software, why develop it in first place? Having it installed in their cars does not look like they did not wanted to use it to me, either. If it has been really not planned this way, it was an extraordinary stupid mistake - which I won´t rule out as well.
(As an aside, it may be that some Germans react strongly to any percieved intrusion in their privacy, as a paranoid dictatorship bent on surveillance of every private move is well within living memory for several million Germans, as the GDR crashed just over 20 years ago.)
It rests on the shoulder of any individual to protect his privacy in first place. But companies in the computer/internet business should be legally obligated to high standards regarding private data as well. A moral codex won´t work, as long as there is money to be earned - money beats morals every time.

Stefan

Liberty's Edge

I don't know the specifics of code Google used, but I can drive down my street and do the exact same thing with my MacBook.

Collecting the data, when it's unencrypted and openly broadcasted, is not in and of itself illegal or even unethical. Using the data in a way as to gauge something like the number of wifi connections broadcasted in the clear, or the number and average strength of a broadcast, even the type of router or computer used to process the signal aren't inherently illegal or unethical. Using openly broadcasted data to determine the types of websites visited, number and frequency, secondary and tertiary clicks, and even what you put in an unsecured (think an eBay or Amazon guest cart) webstore shopping cart aren't illegal or even patently unethical.

Using the data to backdoor into someones system is absolutely unethical and usually illegal, and this isn't what happened.

I don't find what google did, or allowed to happen, since they contend it was unintentional, to be that big of a deal. As many have already said, if you broadcast in the clear, don't expect privacy--it's like standing naked in your front window, with the curtains open and a spotlight on, and then asking me why I'm looking at you.


Real bad planning, PR, and foresight on googles part, and hopefully a wakeup call for people with wireless networks, cell phones and/or laptops. With the lax security in regards to wireless devices, anyone can be big brother, even your neighbor, and once the information becomes part of the Internet, then good luck.

Bottom line, always consider where personal information will end up in regards to personal computing habits, web browsing, etc.


Andrew Turner wrote:

I don't know the specifics of code Google used, but I can drive down my street and do the exact same thing with my MacBook.

Collecting the data, when it's unencrypted and openly broadcasted, is not in and of itself illegal or even unethical.

You mean illegal where you are. As far as I understand it is against Germany's privacy laws which would mean it is illegal for anyone to do.


Andrew Turner wrote:
I don't know the specifics of code Google used, but I can drive down my street and do the exact same thing with my MacBook.

I knew it! I knew you were trying to steal my info!

puts a tinfoil cover on his computer


Conspiracy Buff wrote:
Andrew Turner wrote:
I don't know the specifics of code Google used, but I can drive down my street and do the exact same thing with my MacBook.

I knew it! I knew you were trying to steal my info!

puts a tinfoil cover on his computer

That's gonna build up static...

Liberty's Edge

ArchLich wrote:
Andrew Turner wrote:

I don't know the specifics of code Google used, but I can drive down my street and do the exact same thing with my MacBook.

Collecting the data, when it's unencrypted and openly broadcasted, is not in and of itself illegal or even unethical.

You mean illegal where you are. As far as I understand it is against Germany's privacy laws which would mean it is illegal for anyone to do.

Very good point.


Hey, Listen!


Crimson Jester wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
Crimson Jester wrote:
Scipion del Ferro wrote:

Seems to have been a mistake falling down to one specific engineer. Hard to fault the entire company especially when they just realized it was occurring and publicly acknowledged it.

That's something you'd expect a media freak out if it was oh say.....a president who authorized warrantless wire tapping?

And yet some people are doing just that. Thinking Google was used and is now saying oops we didn't mean to.
And those people are commonly known as idiots. That said, Google is becoming Big Brtoher but only because we keep voluntarily giving it all our information. So you can't really fault it so much.

Well google and facebook.

Idiots...maybe, paranoid defiantly.

Sorry for the threadjack, but Google isn't as bad as Facebook... Just trying to raise awareness and this seemed pretty relative. :p

The Exchange

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Guys have a google, girls have a yahoo!

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