Okay, now that I have your attention with that wonderfully Daily Fail-esque scaremongery headline , let us get to the crux of this entry; the shenanegans surrounding Google Streetview cars and their sniffing of unprotected WiFi networks while on the move.
I’ve been watching this one for a while now, unsure of how I feel about the issue. On one hand, it’s very dubious that Google’s cars were fitted to be able to sniff out unprotected WiFi; for what purpose? However, on the other hand it draws light to a growing concern over people utilising personal, unprotected WiFi networks over which they conduct business using personal information and the potential reprocussions of this.
This article on BBC.co.uk, however, has tipped the balance for me. If a member of US congress involved in homeland security has an open WiFi network over which she no doubt conducted highly sensitive business then what message does that send? What should we be more concerened about? For me, Google is highlighting a massive issue here, something which few of the articles I’ve read have really touched on.
This has become a very public story and, while the nature of the packet sniffing shouldn’t be discounted, surely there should be more focus on the issue of personal security and the implications of open networks? I’d also like to question John Simpson (Consumer Watchdog, quoted in the BBC article) who refers to it as a wire tapping excercise. Personally I feel it is tantamount to leaving your front door open and then complaining you’ve been burgled (also, Wi-Spy, John? I bet you had a little chuckle when you came up with that one…)