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Does the internet threaten our privacy?

11:41 UK time, Monday, 25 October 2010

The Information Commissioner's office will look again at what personal data has been gathered by Google from private wi-fi networks. Is enough being done to protect our privacy?

The UK's privacy watchdog examined a sample earlier this year after it was revealed that the internet giant had collected personal data during its Street View project. At the time, Google said no "significant" personal details were gathered. But it has since admitted that e-mails and passwords were copied.

On its official Google blog, senior vice president Alan Eustace wrote that the company was "mortified" to discover, that personal information had been collected.

Privacy watchdogs in numerous countries, including France, Germany and Canada, had also investigated the information.

Are you concerned about privacy on the internet? Who should be responsible for personal data on the web? How can privacy be improved?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    So they are "mortified". What about the people who you have illegally obtained information from. If you were really sorry then you should be forced to pay significant fines and substantial compensation to those affected, even if it would mean bankrupting and closing down Google. Why were you gathering such information in the first place? Why do you need photographs, which are a permanent record not a casual passerby view). How many internal rooms have been spied in?
    There is a word for what you have and are doing but libel laws prevent me from making saying it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Is enough being done to protect our privacy? I think so. However, not a lot can be done to protect people from their own stupidity and ignorance.

  • Comment number 3.

    Google discovered sensative data around passwords and email address'. Bearing in mind they were collecting unsecured data from unsecured wifi connections I would say google are not really at fault. If you send out unsecured sensative data it is open for anybody to collect.

    People should be more responsible for their actions, I believe we should adopt a German outlook for wireless connections. You are liable for any misuse of your connection and you should be responsible for ensuring it is secure.

  • Comment number 4.

    Some time ago I made a decision to close my various online accounts, facebook etc. I was concerned at just how much data was being held about me when I recieved an email saying words to the effect of "we think you may know Ms x, if you would like to get in touch click here". Well I did know Miss X, when we were both about 14 we have an illicit fumble in the local park! I have not seen her in 30 years and had forgotten she ever existed but yet they can associate me with her. One account I clearly remember closing using their exacting procedure to delete all my data was Facebook. So how come they still keep sending me emails asking me to rejoin? What is more insidious and worrying to me is that even though I take great care with your privacy I keep seeing refernces to me, my life and my activities blasted all over the internet by other people. My wife and I had words about this when I found out that every minute of our daily lives were being posted on Facebook. All of you out there who do insist on posting every inhalation and exhalation online please remember that you do not have the permission of everyone you know to post their lives too. Privacy is not just about the companies halding the data it is about what we release and what others release on our behalves, unwittingly or otherwise.

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't know why Google needed to do a 'street view' project. It must have been obvious to them that, through 'wifi', personal data would be picked up.

  • Comment number 6.

    People putting daft personal information online threaten their own privacy.

    I'd love to know what Google was up to though, its difficult to believe that they didn't know that they would be recording personal information as their camera-cars tootled round the UK....

  • Comment number 7.

    Like many people, I am concerned about the dangers of personal information getting into the wrong hands, when I use the Internet. Even when companies legitimately ask for personal information, does anyone really know (and feel secure about) where that information is going to end up?

    The Internet is a truly wonderful system, with the potential to benefit us all greatly, however, there will always be the criminal element in society who look for ways to exploit it for their own gains. To this extent, the Internet seems out of anyone's "real" control - no matter what safeguards are put in place.

    I do not know what can be done about keeping personal information 100% safe. If "hackers" can access the US military's sites, what chance have we got of protecting our personal information.

    The only way I have of keeping things as safe as I can, is to use the Internet as little as possible, not bank online, and not leave the Internet connected when not in use.

    Regards,

    Phil Edwards.
    North Wales.



  • Comment number 8.

    If people are stupid enough to have a wireless network that is unsecured they deserve what they get. If google could grab information as it drove by, what do these people think that their neighbours are doing? There are people who actively go out to find insecure networks and use them to their advantage.

    I do wonder why however, google had camera cars fitted with wireless hardware and software that could grab information from peoples networks. Surley they just needed a computer attached to the camera/gps?

  • Comment number 9.

    Isn't the obvious question as follows:

    To MD, Google


    "Why were you wandering the streets with kit capable of recording our computer stuff when a video camera is freely available which doesn't do this?"

  • Comment number 10.

    The heading seems to confuse two entities, the internet and wireless local area networks. It is the unsecured latter from which I understand Google gathered the data, and would have been able so to do whether connected to the web or not, so in the context of this matter the internet is not the offending party, so the heading does not make sense. I accept that if people were accessing the web through wireless networks then the data gathered might well have been different, more, and of a sensitive nature, but that's not the point.

  • Comment number 11.

    Google collected data that was freely broadcast, whether intentionally or not, by the owners of the WiFi equipment involved.

    If there is a problem at all, it is that the people operating these devices do not know how to secure them.

    I suggest that any claim for compensation from Google in these circumstances would not make the starting blocks, and all of the hand wringing and fevered claims of infringement of data protection laws are so much hot air.

  • Comment number 12.

    Never mind this story, it's small potatoes.

    The coalition government has approved a multibillion-pound plan by the intelligence agencies to store details of every online conversation.

    The reemerging Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) means internet providers will be forced to install interception equipment in their networks to capture details of who contacts whom, when, where and how via services such as Facebook, Skype, webmail, and online games.

    Think Google's collection of information invades your privacy? Wait until IMP gets implemented.

  • Comment number 13.

    "
    11. At 12:49pm on 25 Oct 2010, Potty Harry wrote:
    "

    Exactly.

  • Comment number 14.

    Who should be responsible for personal data on the web?

    The individual Internet user is responsible for his or her own security. It's entirely up to me, which websites hold my personal details - demographic, biographic or financial. I will only make purchases on secure websites - the ones that have an https:// green URL, or use the secure banking password verification system. So far, touch wood, I've had a completely trouble-free transaction history.

  • Comment number 15.

    "Does the internet threaten our privacy?"

    Not at all - simply don't broadcast anything, that you don't want others to know. This includes non/poorly encrypted WiFi.

  • Comment number 16.

    5. At 12:35pm on 25 Oct 2010, Patty wrote:
    I don't know why Google needed to do a 'street view' project. It must have been obvious to them that, through 'wifi', personal data would be picked up.
    -----------
    Street view is fantastic. Just this morning I dropped my car off at a mechanics who I would never have found without street view. I've lost count of the number of times I have used it to brief myself with a bit of local knowledge that Sat Nav just can't porvide.

    I agree Google were wrong to scan WiFi, but the fact they have been caught and are deleting the data shows that our privacy laws DO work.

    We need to remember that banning something is not the best way of preventing it from happening, it only allows us to punish those who break the law. If you want to stop something, you need to incentivise people either economically or socially to do the right thing i.e. make the right way the easy way. This approach can apply to everything from internet privacy to drug use to Italian mini-skirts.

  • Comment number 17.

    This is a nonsense. Google have yet to give a satisfactory explanation for why they were collecting the data in the first place and they are not being held to account. This may indeed be the thin edge of a very large wedge but that does not mean it should be ignored. They were involved in illegally collecting data, fragments or otherwise and should not be allowed to operate until they prove they have deleted all such data and been prosecuted.

  • Comment number 18.

    It really concerns me how more and more commercial companies are attempting to gather more and more data on us. This not only happens over the internet, but also over the telephone, letters, street questionnaires etc etc. What really angers me more than anything is that they seem to think collecting this information is their right and that nobody should really care about it...well I do a great deal.

    The more data is held on me by more parties, the more likely it is that my personal data could be stolen by criminals and used for crime. Also, they use this data as a marketing tool to sell products and services to you regardless or whether you're interested in them or not. I like to shop around and make my own mind up when I'm looking to make a purchase, and I really don't like it when I company calls, emails or writes to you using high pressure selling techniques. I just wish the appropriate authority/body would curtail this sort of behaviour.

  • Comment number 19.

    "Does the internet threaten our privacy"? Well, it always has.

    If you shred your post you no longer need with personal information on it for security, why would you use the net for banking that relies on others to mess up and lose your data?

    Our family don't facebook or twit - we only irritate others on HYS!

    The internet is amazing, offering access to the best libraries and museums in the world and convenient shopping too.

    However, more than any other form of communication, it's a jungle full of faceless nasty bugs and predating creatures - so be very selective of your destinations and vaccinate your computer with the best security you can afford - plus, never trust anything you wouldn't in 'real' life!

  • Comment number 20.

    Why on earth would anyone want or need wireless internet access in their own home or office? If Google can collect private data "by mistake", think what a dedicated hacker can do! Wired connections might sound old-fashioned, but cable is cheap and far more secure than going wireless.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hey guys got a surprise- the only reason google got caught is because they are a legal company. The various kids and pros scan your network and you dont ever know about it!

    When you park your car do you leave it unlocked? When you leave your home do you leave your door open? If the answer is no then why not secure your network?

    The BBC asks if the internet threatens privacy but these were networks not the internet. This information was gathered from wireless devices broadcasting their existence and having no security on them.

    Now to upset a lot of people- some security has been broken already. Dont use WEP ever because a novice will bypass it. Instead set up the strongest encryption possible and only give the security key to people who need it.

    If google scanned this information in the open without any problems I dont see how anyone can complain.

    FYI there are similar security concerns over wireless passports

  • Comment number 22.


    At 1:02pm on 25 Oct 2010, Steve wrote:

    (Google) were involved in illegally collecting data, fragments or otherwise and should not be allowed to operate until they prove they have deleted all such data and been prosecuted.

    Actually Steve, the data was broadcast freely by its owners. Google, you, I or the KGB would have been able to collect it without let or hindrance.

    What law were you thinking of using to prosecute them under ?

    Or are we thinking with our belly ?

  • Comment number 23.

    Perhaps if people weren't so stupid as to leave their wi-fi unsecured they wouldn't have to worry. And if anyone seriously thinks google is going to do anything with people's emails they are massively deluded.

  • Comment number 24.

    "Are you concerned about privacy on the internet?"
    Fairly. I'm not massively paranoid but t'internet is still a relatively shiny new toy to me (I wouldn't even have had the nerve to post here a year ago!) so I'm uber cautious. Not on Facebook, though this is mainly because it just doesn't appeal to me rather than any privacy issuses. (if you want to buy me a pint just buy me a bloomin pint, don't e-mail it to me or put it on my wall!)Don't e-bank & try not to do to much buying online.I am on the Stephen King mailing list but I doubt the taleslinger has nefarious plans for my data! As a result I am probably the only person left online who has NEVER recieved "free porn" or "enlarge your manhood" offers. (though tbh I feel a bit left out!)

    "Who should be responsible for personal data on the web? "
    Everyone should be responsible for their own data, however once this data is passed on by joining a service, buying something or in any case where data is required by a company it becomes that companies responsibility to protect it too.

    "How can privacy be improved?"
    The public need to be made aware of the risks & how they can protect themselves. It would also help if companies like google could avoid "accidentally" acquiring personal information.


  • Comment number 25.

    Why is nobody challenging Google's use of the words "accidental" and "inadvertent"? To collect this data you need a computer that is programmed to search for WiFi networks, to test any network found to see if it is secure, to connect to any networks that are found not to be secure and then to search the connected network for data. This cannot happen "accidentally" or "inadvertently". Totally impossible. Somebody at Google, or its sub contractor if any, programmed a computer to do this.

  • Comment number 26.

    America is a country which is histrionic about its own privacy and 'freedom', but allows its own companies to use the rest of the world as a laboratory whilst pretending to offer a 'service'. I virtually had to threaten the Google fool with violence to stop him and his vehicle trying come down my private road. He assumed that because he was the 'Google Man' he had the right to impose himself and his American company on the British public, despite protestations. His (not very bright) argument was 'It has been on the telly, mate, you must know about it'. So the Americans must be educating Google staff as well.
    There is also the question of our own government's cowardice in not opposing these data gathering measures whilst using the Data Protection Act to refuse its own citizens access to information.
    The last government proved to be crap. How long will this one last before we become disillusioned as unemployment rises?

  • Comment number 27.

    The government itself is the biggest threat to our privacy, since the last loss of data by them, how many other losses has there been that we don't know about? I get an enormous amount of mail and telephone calls related to my age, where do the companies that send all these unsolicitered contacts get their information from? Some of your private information that the financial sector glean from others can destroy lives. But think about it, when you apply for a mortgage or loan, whether it be through a bank or otherwise, the first contact is often through a call centre. In those call centres you have a right old mix of all sorts, I wouldn't entrust the information about my pet budgie with them. Then you have call centres that operate far from our shores that can pry in to your private life when you apply for something. Many call centre workers are paid rubbish wages, are mostly unskilled yet, they can handle the most sensitive of information about you, and that's just the British ones. The biggest threat of all is the dumb (and it's happened through the greed for profit) relocation by the banking sector, information sector and government of call centres off our shores.

  • Comment number 28.

    20. At 1:10pm on 25 Oct 2010, ColinBattle wrote:

    Why on earth would anyone want or need wireless internet access in their own home or office? If Google can collect private data "by mistake", think what a dedicated hacker can do! Wired connections might sound old-fashioned, but cable is cheap and far more secure than going wireless.

    -----------------------------

    Unfortunately it is necessary for some. Whats the point of a laptop if you cant take it out of the room? Also it is possible the router cant be close to the computer and holes in walls is impractical. I mention this because a family member has this problem.

    Personally I prefer a faster and far more secure wire. And I refuse to use public internet hubs because security can be a joke.

  • Comment number 29.

    So they were " mortified " to discover that personal information had been collected, even though they were knowingly using software that did just that. We all have a responsibility to make sure we`re as protected as it`s possible to be when online. Having said that, i have to agree with a few posters here. Why do Google need software that attempts to connect to peoples wi-fi when all they`re purportedly doing is taking pictures? As they`ve admitted to doing just that i believe that they should be bought before the courts to explain their actions

  • Comment number 30.

    This is a classic in flame the mob story. Sadly it just highlights how many people dont understand the internet and how open it is.

    I wonder how many people were actually financially affected by this, so far no one but still it gets headlines because people fear what they dont understand.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm not concerned abtu internet privacy at all, being a nudist.

  • Comment number 32.

    It's not google's fault if wi fi connections are open and unsecured. Those who had their information collected should think themselves lucky it was google who collected the information, and not their local bandidos , otherwise it would not just be their privacy they lost. It's this sort of stupidity that makes scam Emails such a profitable businss.

  • Comment number 33.

    Google did nothing wrong, nothing illegal. If you are concerned with that which Google has done then you should really look at what precautions you take yourself before pointing the finger at others. Google collected broadcast data from unsecured access points. This is the equivalent of you leaving rubbish out on the street and the council picking it up without checking with you first.

    The data was collected for a purpose, it was to survey what wireless networks were present as the survey vehicle passed. This allows Google to provide an enhancement to their mapping facility because your phone can search for all the wireless networks in the area and based on the signal quality of those networks that advertise themselves it can estimate your location more accurately. Once again the system relies on your broadband modem advertising the presence of your network to anyone in the proximity. There is again, nothing illegal in this and you consented to it by transmitting such a signal in the first place.

    As an individual you are so concerned about your information security then perhaps you shouldn't be using wifi at all or at least you should assure yourself that you understand the security implications of the configuration you have.

    Bob

  • Comment number 34.

    There seems to be little mention of the Google employee(s) who inserted the code that accessed the personal information. It's perfectly clear that those individuals knew exactly what their code would do, and that it was allegedly done without Google's authorisation.

    The time and effort involved in writing the code was hardly minimal, so one has to wonder what the motivation was and, more pertinently, for WHOM, as it was not for Google. This whole scenario was not accidental, therefore there was some purpose behind it, about which Google seems strangely silent.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think privacy over the net has improved a lot in the last few years.

    However people are stupid with what they put on the net. Some people live their whole lives on social net working sites and don't hold back on details.

    I've heard of people having their houses burgled after letting everybody know they are off on holiday and guess what? Insurance doens't cover it.

    More common sense helps protect privacy.

  • Comment number 36.

    I've always assumed everything I do on the computer is for all intents and purposes in the public domain if someone with expertise wants to find out about me. I therefore try and ensure I do and say nothing online that might draw attention to me. I'll never understand people who use Twitter and other similar sites discuss their most personal thoughts and problems on the sites.

  • Comment number 37.

    Are you concerned about privacy on the internet?
    A little, but not hugely. I bank online, pay most of my bills online. I shop online. I reserve library books online. The majority of my working day is spent using online systems. You just have to be mindful of what information you are giving out, and to whom. Throwing your details around like confetti on the web is going to be bad news.

    Who should be responsible for personal data on the web?
    Yourself. It is up to you to ensure you have adequate security, there are no excuses. If you're not tech-savvy, either don't use it or ask someone to show you how to use it. If you're unsure about a website, then don't use it and pick up the phone instead. The internet isn't a playground when it comes to personal data - you have to be clued up on how to use it, if you're not then I have little sympathy for you. You wouldn't give your card details to a random stranger without checking their ID first - same principle applies online.

    How can privacy be improved?
    By double-checking everything you're doing, and being knowledgable about the processes. I'm not saying that everyone has to become a computer expert, but at least have a basic understanding of secure websites, and knowing how to encrypt your wireless network to ensure it can't be hacked.


    Incidentally, 25. At 1:19pm on 25 Oct 2010, Kilkis wrote:
    Why is nobody challenging Google's use of the words "accidental" and "inadvertent"? To collect this data you need a computer that is programmed to search for WiFi networks, to test any network found to see if it is secure, to connect to any networks that are found not to be secure and then to search the connected network for data. This cannot happen "accidentally" or "inadvertently". Totally impossible. Somebody at Google, or its sub contractor if any, programmed a computer to do this.


    I have a laptop which will automatically scan for and try to connect to any available wireless networks it finds. If they're secure and I have access to them, it'll connect. In the absence of a secure network, it will find and connect to unsecured networks automatically. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine that some form of computer programme was used by google which, as a side-effect, collected data from unsecured networks - but this was completely unintentional. Or, of course, google may have been harvesting this data covertly to use in some supremely evil way. I guess we'll never know.

  • Comment number 38.

    The moment one signs for gmail account by accepting the terms the privacy ends.Your 'keywords' used in personal email are used to market'keywords' associated products/services on the email received by the recipients.This is nothing short of being in the public domain for your personal emails.

  • Comment number 39.

    No, our privacy is not a concern and until now has not been in fitting with the general attitude that we should not expect privacy.

    How can Facebook be allowed to sign up UK members, then prevent them users from accessing their own account for the flimsiest of reasons, while leaving it online for the world to see. When the user attempts to contact Facebook they can not, because you need to sign in first, which you can't. Facebook have no UK support, no UK office and are completely outside of data protection laws in the UK. I have a letter from the UK information commissioners office stating just that. In additon, all contact emails for Facebook are blackholed.

    Google. Like Facebook they are completely above UK law. They drive into a cul-de-sac and take photos of people's properties. This is ok, but individuals are not allowed to photograph anything outdoors according to many Police forces who have confiscated cameras, deleted photos and threatened hundreds with arrest under anti-terrorism legislation. When the residents of the cul-de-sac in quesion filmed the Google street-car driver who was photographing their houses, the police threatened to arrest them for filming him.

    So to me the message is that individuals can have their personal data collected then effectively siezed by Facebook, and can have their house photographed for a burglars online catalogue on Google, but are not allowed to take a photograph of a bridge at sunset or a well known tourist landmark.

  • Comment number 40.

    It seems to me that there is no such thing as "personal" data anymore. Even if you don't use social networking sites, your data can be found in so many different places, as my wife found out yesterday when she found our home information on some bizarre site or other!
    It doesn't bother me, as I check online banking daily... and thats about it (apart from BBC HYS), its just sad that you have no privacy anymore. Somebody will always be trying to rip you off, steal your identity, break into your bank accounts, add you as a cyber "friend", send spam to you, offer you advice on any problem in the world, pollute your PC with viruses etc etc etc.
    The internet is rubbish, full of crap, and only good for news updates when you can't get to a newsagents.

  • Comment number 41.

    Does this mean that google are the baddies this week?

  • Comment number 42.

    So Google collected whole emails - just like any other point on the internet (including department of homeland security, gchq and anyone interested in you could). If the email was in plain text (not encrypted) and it was sensitive secret information then YOU were stupid to send it out like that. Plain text email is like a postcard - the text is readable to everyone involved in delivering it. If you don't want it read then hide it (like when you put a letter in an envelope).

    As to passwords, same applies there, the ONLY passwords they could have collected were plain text logins, these are caused by insecure webpages, the insecure plain text logins can be read by anyone.

    This is a storm in a teacup and not very interesting.

  • Comment number 43.

    Peter Barron used to be Newsnight Editor, BBC. He left the BBC to join Google as its Head of Communications & Public affairs for the UK, Ireland & Benelux Regions. This was September, 2008, just after Google had restructured the American search engine.
    Barron: "Google is the most interesting and exciting company of my lifetime and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to work there."
    To answer your question: Does the Internet thrteaten our privacy? Personally, I think anyone who doesn't believe we are surrendering a lot of privacy for the sake of using the Internet must have fallen out of a tree located in the stone age.
    If there are "lessons from this mistake", these lessons will likely serve to tighten search-engine security, not for your sake or mine, but so that the search-engine does not get caught (again).
    No "significant" personal details were collected; in whose opinion, Google's? What about the e-mails & passwords that were copied?
    Google Senior VP, Alan Eustace: the company was "mortified" to discover that personal information had been collected. How is this possible? The VP of Google didn't know that Google was capturing significant personal information? What chance therefore has an innocent user of detecting his/her personal search-engine ABUSE? Will the subjects of the abuse get a signed statement, a hard copy apology, verifying that the personal data has been deleted?
    I don't know why Google is into information mischief (or perhaps even illegalities), but the question must be asked:
    For whom?
    For whom is this information being gathered (most likely sold)?
    However, Google's admission of more detailed data mistakenly collected has prompted further action by the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office).
    Google's Director of Privacy, Alma Whitten said the company would work with the ICO to answer its "further questions and concerns".
    She added that the data "has never been used in any Google product and was never intended to be used by Google in any way".
    So? This brings me back to my chief concern: I don't know why Google is into information mischief (or perhaps even illegalities), but the question must be asked:
    For whom?
    For whom is this information being gathered (most likely sold)?
    In total Google snagged about 600 gigabytes of data. A gigabyte (GB) is a measure of computer storage capacity; it is roughly a BILLION bytes. A gigabyte is two to the 30th power, or 1,073,741,824 in decimal notation. 600 gigabytes is a lot of information, and causes my dubiousness about Google's so-called "mistake".
    What assurance can the public EVER have that this mass of data has been deleted, or even examined to see whether laws on the protecting of personal information have been broken?
    Google said it had since "strengthened" its internal privacy and security practices. I'll bet on that...to keep the watchdogs at the bay.
    Doesn't it seem odd that Google should launch an immediate investigation into how the breach happened? Do we ask a thief to investigate himself?
    Is enough being done to protect our privacy?
    No, but there is a reason and that reason lies wallowing in for whom and why has this data been collected.
    Am I concerned about privacy on the internet?
    Not really, but there is this weird feeling in my stomach - I don't know why Google is into information mischief (or perhaps even illegalities), but the question must be asked:
    For whom?
    For whom is this information being gathered (perhaps sold)?
    Who should be responsible for personal data on the web?
    Certainly not watchdogs, though its's nice of them to try. ICO (Information Commissioner's Office).
    How can privacy be improved?
    The ICO needs to hire nerds & geeks to monitor systems. Maybe Google has a few that could be head-hunted.

  • Comment number 44.

    Another point to remember - it doesn't MATTER about your email being picked up on the wifi because any plain text email can be picked up elsewhere on the internet - maybe not even in this country.

  • Comment number 45.

    If you are stupid enough to pass personal data using an unsecured wifi connection, what exactly do you expect?

  • Comment number 46.

    There will come a time when Google can challenge the State. This must not be allowed to happen even if it means shutting down Google altogether.

  • Comment number 47.

    We would be better off without computers. It is not just the danger of transmitting personal data, people have lost the ability to think. Computers have not made life easier, everything is now more complex.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm a big fan of personal responsiblity - if you don't understand the security risks of the internet then don't put anything you wouldn't want publicly known on it. Caveat emptor. Simple.

    That said, there's privacy and then there's keeping things to yourself; I think a bit of commonly accepted netiquette wouldn't go astray. I for one am getting sick of wincing at publicly aired relationship/family/personal laundry on Facebook status updates!

  • Comment number 49.

    We reach a time where the risk is beginning to outweigh the advantages and the whole internet dream is perilously close to implosion. Luddites roam our streets pursuing the Google vans with caltrops in hand - well perhaps not.

    Ultimately you are responsible but anyone that collects our data is also responsible. They already are under law but that law is poorly enforced. Systems are flawed in the human rather than technical sense of course and your data is still really far more vulnerable offline than on.

  • Comment number 50.

    As my wi-fi is properly secured, the Streetview car got nothing but photographs when it came by my house :)

    I am far more concerned about nosy governments requiring information irrelevant to the request I am making of them all the time. Not to mention organisations... why for example does a prospective employer need to know my NI number BEFORE he decides to hire me?

  • Comment number 51.

    Recommend post #27 on 25 Oct - 'Toothpick Harry'.

    Overseas based call centres are often in countries that do not have to comply with UK Data Protection Laws.

    Even call centre employees based in the UK say back your details and sensitive numbers out loud - are these employees 'fidelity bonded'? Are they checked every day for recording devices?

    You have to think like a criminal with your personal and financial information - and always imagine the worst. If your bank only offers overseas call centres for paying one off bills by 'phone banking; gradually plan a move to a bank UK based only. Who said banks were perfect and we had to follow like sheep - eventually banks will get the message that we want services based in the UK - because we work in the UK; our wages and salaries are paid into UK - so we want UK services!

    Plus, never ever bank or pay bills online. Monthly Direct Debit your utilities and insurance divided by 12 months at a minimum agreed amount, which is better for your cash flow and you won't spend what you don't have. Well, we all do, of course, but credit (debt) cards are for emergencies, hopefully. But, with cuts to come who knows anymore?

    However, if your bank's internet server goes down and your bill payments are late - you will pay late payment charges to your creditors and go through hell to prove it wasn't your fault!

    So, the old fable still applies in the 21st Century - do not put all your eggs (financial or otherwise) in one basket.

  • Comment number 52.

    8. At 12:47pm on 25 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to have a wireless network that is unsecured they deserve what they get.


    Funny, but that is exactly the justification a burglar once gave me for why he thought it was ok to steal from people.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think anyone who expects that their privacy will be protected in any way on the internet is being childishly naive. In my view there is NO secure way to protect any information - be it your private bank account or the vast data network being developed for the NHS. In my personal opinion those who claim that such things can be kept secure are either deluded about the system or playing a very dangerous game of deception for gain. I suspect that the only reason every single item of personal information has not been misused is that there is so much of it that predators cannot cope with the volume and like hawks attack one or two in a flock of birds, so you got missed a few times but I am certain they will get round to every one of you-just give them time and a few more advances in technology.

  • Comment number 54.

    Yes, other people posting irresponsibly can be a menace, but here is what I find interesting...

    Government, corporations, and websites are all publishing our personal information online and even the best of them cannot guarantee its security. The government and military reward hackers and Internet buggers by offering them high paying jobs with benefits to perpetrate the same crimes against their perceived enemies (note that I do not say "our" enemies). We are given no choice in these matters, yet we pay the price for it.

    Why do we tolerate these abuses? Are we so blasé as to assume it won't happen to us? Don't we see the stupidity of asking the offenders to protect us? Or are we all so addicted to complaining that we're living in fear of a solution? The only way these things will change is if WE change them. Not the government. Not corporations. Not criminals. It's time to stop whining, "There's nothing we can do..." and start taking personal responsibility for making change happen.

    Oh no, wait! That might be inconvenient! It might mean getting in trouble with the perpetrators!... Well, I guess you're right, then. Nothing we can do then but surrender up everything they want. After all, we can live without identities or souls, right?

  • Comment number 55.

    Now can we put the hoary old chestnut "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" to rest? Bad boy, Google. You make claims about respecting privacy after all.

  • Comment number 56.

    52. At 2:40pm on 25 Oct 2010, SlimyKabadiGandu wrote:
    8. At 12:47pm on 25 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to have a wireless network that is unsecured they deserve what they get.


    Funny, but that is exactly the justification a burglar once gave me for why he thought it was ok to steal from people.

    --

    If people are stupid enough to leave their front doors and windows wide open..

  • Comment number 57.

    7. At 12:38pm on 25 Oct 2010, philsail1 wrote:
    Like many people, I am concerned about the dangers of personal information getting into the wrong hands, when I use the Internet.

    ############################################################

    You are having a laugh right?

    The internet is FULL of sad lonely wierdo's who are only on the virtual highways because they cannot get 'real' friends.

    All use of the internet allows someone, somewhere, to know a little bit more about you.

    What can you do, well try the following list.

    1 Do not buy a computor.

    2 If you do buy a computor do not take it out of the box.

    3 If you do take it out of the box do not turn it on.


    If you fail at 3, you are on your own.



  • Comment number 58.

    55. At 2:54pm on 25 Oct 2010, Raymond Hopkins wrote:
    Now can we put the hoary old chestnut "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" to rest? Bad boy, Google. You make claims about respecting privacy after all.

    -----

    I'm not sure google have made any statements about respecting privacy, in fact, if you read the small print on both G-mail & Google chrome you'll find that in return for providing these services Google explicitly state that they will retain your data for their own purposes.

    Wasn't it someone senior at Google that said 'If your'e worried about people finding out what you do online, maybe you shouldn't be doing it'?

  • Comment number 59.

    Does the internet threeaten our privacy.

    No, if one uses common sense

    It (the internet) does however protect our freedoms. With the growth of the internet it is becoming increasingly difficult to control people or the news. Some in the world of big business and politics do not like this and are trying to use privacy concerns as an excuse to try and censor the internet.

  • Comment number 60.

    5. At 12:35pm on 25 Oct 2010, Patty wrote:

    "I don't know why Google needed to do a 'street view' project. It must have been obvious to them that, through 'wifi', personal data would be picked up. "

    Have you been living in a cave? Why did Google need to do a 'Street View' project? Why not? Why go to the Moon? Why come down from the trees in the first place? It's useful and a positive step forward! I have been able to use the service to find locations I plan to visit without the hassle of wondering what I am looking for when I get there. How? I can check out Street View and see what the area looks like and find the building I'm looking for. I can also check out the local amenities with ease.

    How would it have been obvious that personal data would be picked up through wifi? If you don't secure your connection properly using a good encryption algorithm, you are opening yourself up for your connection to be misused. Admittedly, Google shouldn't have connected to and be trying to extract information on this unsecured wifi connection but it certainly wasn't obvious that personal data would be picked up at all.

  • Comment number 61.

    22. At 1:14pm on 25 Oct 2010, Potty Harry wrote:

    What law were you thinking of using to prosecute them under ?

    Or are we thinking with our belly ?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Hi Harry: I think the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 says something to the effect that "..a person is not authorised to receive messages he was not intended to receive..." but it would perhaps be the Crown that would have a cause of action rather than an aggrieved individual in that case.



  • Comment number 62.

    Hey Bob @ #1, Try wrapping your wifi box in tinfoil. That'll put paid to their evil plans. You can also make some tinfoil curtains to stop them spying into your living room. The rotters. Finally, don't forget to make a tinfoil hat to block their thought control rays. And don't let anyone tell you that you look or sound foolish.

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm not very technically minded but I simply can't get my head around the idea that a car with a camera on it can steal email addresses and passwords. I wonder if my camera can do that. Or maybe my car can.

  • Comment number 64.

    52. At 2:40pm on 25 Oct 2010, SlimyKabadiGandu wrote:

    ""8. At 12:47pm on 25 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to have a wireless network that is unsecured they deserve what they get."

    Funny, but that is exactly the justification a burglar once gave me for why he thought it was ok to steal from people."

    It's ok to steal from people because they have unsecured wireless? He must be barmy! ;)

  • Comment number 65.

    If you had asked this question 2 years ago I would have scoffed at the thought of worrying about privacy on the internet however in 2010 Im not so sure.I would not want the internet to be censored as is the case in China where trying to access certain sites ends up with the police arresting you.I want to be able to access any open information because that is what the internet is for.I dont want the government,police or companies getting any of my personal information to use against me.There are worrying reports that government want to control the way the internet is run-thats when alarm bells will start to ring everywhere.

  • Comment number 66.

    "4. At 12:29pm on 25 Oct 2010, RightWingIDBanned wrote:
    What is more insidious and worrying to me is that even though I take great care with your privacy I keep seeing refernces to me, my life and my activities blasted all over the internet by other people. My wife and I had words about this when I found out that every minute of our daily lives were being posted on Facebook. All of you out there who do insist on posting every inhalation and exhalation online please remember that you do not have the permission of everyone you know to post their lives too. Privacy is not just about the companies halding the data it is about what we release and what others release on our behalves, unwittingly or otherwise."
    _______________________________________________________

    From the tone of your post, Righty, I assume that it was your wife who posting information, and that is why you "had words" with her. Of course she has certain rights and freedoms as well, and in the old days she may have discussed things with her neighbour, over the fence. That kind of information, while potentially embarassing, will quite possibly find other avenues and hopefully you didn't burn all your bridges with your wife during your tete-a-tete. The real worry is whether iformation that doesn't just potentially cause embarassment, but can actually destroy your life, is available to others.

    Now, if your wife was giving out inforamtion of this nature I apologise, and you were then right to rein her back in. But I think it more likely her online diary was a more innocent item, with perhaps some references you'd rather others didn't see. It's that balancing act - your right to privacy versus her right to freedom of speech, and this isn't really the forum.


  • Comment number 67.

    63. At 3:30pm on 25 Oct 2010, john3626 wrote:

    I'm not very technically minded but I simply can't get my head around the idea that a car with a camera on it can steal email addresses and passwords. I wonder if my camera can do that. Or maybe my car can.

    ----------------------

    Nothing to do with the car or camera. They scanned the airwaves probably with a laptop. people do drive around with a laptop to steal information on unsecured (and some secured) wireless networks

  • Comment number 68.

    63. At 3:30pm on 25 Oct 2010, john3626 wrote:
    I'm not very technically minded but I simply can't get my head around the idea that a car with a camera on it can steal email addresses and passwords. I wonder if my camera can do that. Or maybe my car can.

    ----

    Yes,

    yes they can.

  • Comment number 69.

    Never mind what information that Google or other private companies have collected or stored about us as they only want to make money out of us. It the collection and storage of our personal details and our communications by telephone and email that the state is collecting that worry me. The state will use the information to prosecute and tax us.

  • Comment number 70.

    Such a shame that people don't have a clue about wireless networks.

    It's ALL their own fault for not reading the instructions. Oh ! I forgot. It appears half the public are unable to read !

    Serves them right if they lose their 'so precious information'

    We (shh you know who), use cars and unsecured wireless nets to do loads of our work on the Internet. You don't think we would use TRACEABLE IP addresses to monitor you ?

    Google have NOT committed a crime in any way. Everyone can and many do this. Same as picking up a stray fiver from the pavement.

    Thank goodness for stupid people.

  • Comment number 71.

    I believe that the internet be monitored ,the only problem is from who?
    Terrorism was a way of making the public feel fear ,brought about by Tony Blair and New labour and devised by the USA under the guidance of a very small state in the Middle East who control the USA ,
    I have recently come to the conclusion that the Arab dissadents and the west have been manipulated by this small middle eastern state that controls the USA ,who wish the Arab States and the West to wage war against each other , and by doing so avoid a major conflict with either the Arabs or the West , I very much doubt if our government will monitor any internet cyber attacks from this very small middle eastern state which controls the USA and most of the world .

  • Comment number 72.

    50. At 2:19pm on 25 Oct 2010, Megan wrote:
    '........I am far more concerned about nosy governments requiring information irrelevant to the request I am making of them all the time. Not to mention organisations... why for example does a prospective employer need to know my NI number BEFORE he decides to hire me? '



    Erm....simply to know right away that you are not an ILLEGAL !!!!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Privacy is very important in our contemporary, democratic society. When personal data leak out, there can be a lot of consequences. For instance, when people get hold of personal bank information, it is possible that they will purloin you. At the other hand, the consequences do not have to be that bad. For example, receiving spam in your mailbox as a result of your personal data which finished at one or another store.

    There obviously are a couple of points of view about what should be done. First there are people who think that the government should not involve in this. When people give their personal information, they did it by themselves and that is the end of the story. Secondly, there is a group who think that the government should protect everyone’s privacy. The government can realize this for example by imposing fines on them who violate this. The third and last point of view states that the protection of the privacy is a joint accountability for the webmasters behind the sites which asks personal information, the government and the people in general. Webmasters must ensure that they only use the personal data for the purpose that they state. Secondly, the government must play the big stick. They need to supervise if the webmasters are doing this. At last, the people in general ought to be cautious where they register and where they supply their own particulars.

    The last point of view will probably result in the best privacy protection. That is why it is very important to sensibilize everyone of the potential risks of a lack of privacy. Furthermore it is a good sign of the government to investigate the Google-case.

  • Comment number 74.

    66. At 3:37pm on 25 Oct 2010, you wrote:
    "4. At 12:29pm on 25 Oct 2010, RightWingIDBanned wrote:
    What is more insidious and worrying to me is that even though I take great care with your privacy I keep seeing refernces to me, my life and my activities blasted all over the internet by other people. My wife and I had words about this when I found out that every minute of our daily lives were being posted on Facebook. All of you out there who do insist on posting every inhalation and exhalation online please remember that you do not have the permission of everyone you know to post their lives too. Privacy is not just about the companies halding the data it is about what we release and what others release on our behalves, unwittingly or otherwise."
    _______________________________________________________

    From the tone of your post, Righty, I assume that it was your wife who posting information, and that is why you "had words" with her. Of course she has certain rights and freedoms as well, and in the old days she may have discussed things with her neighbour, over the fence. That kind of information, while potentially embarassing, will quite possibly find other avenues and hopefully you didn't burn all your bridges with your wife during your tete-a-tete. The real worry is whether iformation that doesn't just potentially cause embarassment, but can actually destroy your life, is available to others.

    Now, if your wife was giving out inforamtion of this nature I apologise, and you were then right to rein her back in. But I think it more likely her online diary was a more innocent item, with perhaps some references you'd rather others didn't see. It's that balancing act - your right to privacy versus her right to freedom of speech, and this isn't really the forum.



    Oh, And another thought - by publishing that you have quite possibly embarassed your wife. Does this make you as bad as her, however unwittingly?

  • Comment number 75.

    "8. At 12:47pm on 25 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to have a wireless network that is unsecured they deserve what they get. If google could grab information as it drove by, what do these people think that their neighbours are doing?"


    Yes, and if people are silly enough to leave their front door open and a burglar gets in, they deserved it - but that still doesn't justify the burglary, and the burglar may still go to prison.

  • Comment number 76.

    We have trivialised life by 'instant' services using mobile devices as if our lives depended on electronic popularity. We have forgotten the importance of the face to face, the heartfelt, the profound, and dance in a mediocre quicksand, screaming only when we realise how dangerous our stupidity has become.

    Google wouldn't exist if we didn't use it.

  • Comment number 77.

    "33. At 1:35pm on 25 Oct 2010, Bob_ wrote:
    Google did nothing wrong, nothing illegal. If you are concerned with that which Google has done then you should really look at what precautions you take yourself before pointing the finger at others. Google collected broadcast data from unsecured access points. This is the equivalent of you leaving rubbish out on the street and the council picking it up without checking with you first."


    Wrong - if you take something which is not yours it is still theft - even if the wallet you picked up was left on a park bench.

    Rubbish is yours until council collects it - you put it out specifically for them. It is not there for anyone else to take.




  • Comment number 78.

    Simple - do not use un-secured wi-fi

    I don't - mind you I try not to use wi-fi at all. Cable connections do not transmit - so are safer.

  • Comment number 79.

    Everything cuts both ways. Think Wikileaks!

  • Comment number 80.

    "Does the internet threaten our privacy"?

    Yes, of course it does - and stand by my other posts on this subject.

    If this 'Google' invasion makes everyone re-examine their control panel blockers, security programs/scans and wi-fi security ALONE - then that has to be progress.

    You don't have to be computer savvy to protect yourself online. If you are new to a computer - take time to look around it offline. You can't break your computer - get wise input from your family, best friends, trusted work colleagues - it could quickly mess with you if you get online without good preparation and good security - plus - trust no-one on-line and avoid all 'sites' that you would mistrust or avoid in your real life.

  • Comment number 81.

    Googles claims beggar belief.

    To produce their street view all that was needed was to take pictures and register their GPS co-ordinates to stitch them together. Capturing any data at all was clearly unrequired and therefore must have been deliberately done.

    They are obviously only sorry for being caught and being caught lying about what they had done - not for doing it in the first place.

  • Comment number 82.

    First, while it is true that data encryption would have prevented this situation with Google, it is not the case that the standard encryption algorithms are completely safe. They can be cracked with a laptop and freely available software.

    Second, the main privacy issue I see is not this nonsense with Google (for which they should be hung out to dry), but other invasions of privacy by government and companies. Even the BBC web site requires the use of Adobe Flash to view video content, and companies can use Flash to store a huge volume of information in your hard disk about what you've been up to on the internet (see 'local shared object' in Wikipedia). Unlike HTML 'cookies', which you can block from within your browser, you have to log onto Adobe's web site to prevent this, and even if you do, Flash saves in its own settings every site you have visited that required Flash. No doubt this was buried somewhere in a user license for Flash, but I'd like the UK government to force companies to make this kind of thing more transparent, such as requiring all companies using browser plug-ins to ask explicitly and clearly whether they can use local hard disk space and stating what kinds of information that are a threat to privacy might be stored there.

  • Comment number 83.

    "52. At 2:40pm on 25 Oct 2010, SlimyKabadiGandu wrote:
    8. At 12:47pm on 25 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to have a wireless network that is unsecured they deserve what they get.

    Funny, but that is exactly the justification a burglar once gave me for why he thought it was ok to steal from people."

    But the analogy doesn't stick - this data was basically a radio broadcast that was picked up by some radio receiver (reportedly, and quite possibly by accident). Unless whoever the victim of your burglar was was throwing their possessions from their front garden at the time (which I would hazard a guess wasn't the case) then there isn't really a parallel. I would imagine something was in place to protect the victim's possessions (locked doors, windows etc) but that these measures were subverted. Here no measures were used.

    I have never seen a router that did not contain basic instructions for applying basic security when using wireless networks. This case shows that people have blatantly disregarded them - and seem to expect incidents like this to be anybody's fault but their own. You don't have to understand intricate details of encryption to employ it - it is rather simple. We all use it all the time probably without even realising it. Anyone can secure a wireless network in 5 minutes following a few easy instructions and never think about it again - and yet, here we have people decrying the government for not doing enough?

    It is not, as many seem to be suggesting here, the responsibility of the government to wrap you in cotton wool and protect you from every risk imaginable. Especially not when rudimentary tools already at your disposal are being ignored.

  • Comment number 84.

    No-one can approve of Google's behaviour, or the infringement of our personal liberties but, for those with nothing to conceal, is there really anything to worry about?

    Provided the information obtained is not used for any illegal purpose, I can't see that anything I've put on the internet is likely to give me sleepless nights. I don't do internet banking or anything like that, and anyone is welcome to know what incredibly boring websites I surf.

  • Comment number 85.

    Who gave Google the right to go collecting WIFI information (name of the WIFI, MAC address, etc) for use with their mapping and StreetView technologies?

    Information broadcasted by WIFI from a person's home is private.
    Google has no right to use this information for their own gain.

    As for collecting data from WIFI networks, are you telling me that they knew nothing about it?
    Are you saying that when they tested this technology they didn't collect WIFI data?

    I say Google are lying. They knew exactly what they were doing and they just upset that they got caught.

    The British Government did nothing about it. Just like the BT and Phorm scandel.
    It was left for the Governments of other countries to say something.

  • Comment number 86.

    81. At 4:14pm on 25 Oct 2010, Whistling Neil wrote:
    "...They are obviously only sorry for being caught and being caught lying about what they had done - not for doing it in the first place."
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ...and because if they were understood to have done this deliberately they are apparently open to prosecution under WTA 1949, perhaps.



  • Comment number 87.

    85. At 4:32pm on 25 Oct 2010, John70 wrote:

    Who gave Google the right to go collecting WIFI information (name of the WIFI, MAC address, etc) for use with their mapping and StreetView technologies?

    Information broadcasted by WIFI from a person's home is private.
    Google has no right to use this information for their own gain.

    As for collecting data from WIFI networks, are you telling me that they knew nothing about it?
    Are you saying that when they tested this technology they didn't collect WIFI data?

    I say Google are lying. They knew exactly what they were doing and they just upset that they got caught.

    The British Government did nothing about it. Just like the BT and Phorm scandel.
    It was left for the Governments of other countries to say something.

    ----------------------------

    Sorry but your information is only private if you dont broadcast it for everyone to read. An unsecured wireless router is broadcasting your information and your lucky it was google reading it instead of someone more sinister.

    Windows alone can identify unsecured networks and join them so surely you shouldnt have an unsecured network unless you want others to use it.

  • Comment number 88.

    The internet only holds the information we put on it. People need to realise that slack security and typing before thinking will leave their information open to all.

  • Comment number 89.

    Google has come forward and admitted that they have made a mistake by gathering some information regarding emails and passwords, surely if anything we should be thanking google for bringing the security of our Home / Office Wireless connections to light, the fact that they have admitted the gathering of information and are now working towards fixing this that should show that it was not a malicious act.

  • Comment number 90.

    Have a look at Menwith Hill on the 'net. Google is a minnow when it comes to collecting information in UK. Howevr, beware, every time the name Menwith Hill is accessed their computer spits out a hit!

  • Comment number 91.

    Indeed it is an outrage, how dare people leave their hotspots unsecured? It is unfortunate Google collected this information, but perhaps you should thank Google they don't just release it to the public. As it turns out, maybe I should start driving around in a van and stealing identities. Shouldn't be hard, apparently there are tons of people who aren't willing to secure their networks. You cannot complain about your privacy being invaded while you're basically running around nude. Secure your network, our count yourself lucky you haven't been compromised (or maybe you have been).

  • Comment number 92.

    If you leave your door open and a stranger walked in and had a look around, you should curse your own carelessness as much as the curiosity of the stranger.

    The internet is by default an open door. Even if you take precautions, such as using strong encryption, the fact that you communicated with a particular person cannot be kept a complete secret.



  • Comment number 93.

    TV licensing now spies via the new Iplayer....this must now stop!!!!

  • Comment number 94.

    Tv licensing must now stop spying on us through the i player..there is no support for GCHQ,BBC,or any other organization to spy on the public and use the results in a court of law or send adverts to our mail box!!

  • Comment number 95.

    It isn't the Internet that is endangering our privacy, no more than a nuclear missile sitting deep down in its subterranean silo is - it's the people that use these things that make them potentially dangerous! I see no way around this, servers log data and that data exists and some people will steal and misuse it. I see no solution.

  • Comment number 96.

    The internet is a public place; in the same way that you might be overheard in a bar, either by someone nosey listening or because you spoke too loud, so whatever you publish on the internet cannot be assumed to be private. There are steps that may be taken to increase your privacy both on- and off-line, but they are imperfect; if someone wants your data they will get it, just as nothing can stop a determined burglar. All you can do is minimise the risk by being aware of your own security, look for evidence that your data has been misused and be prepared top act when you find it has.

    Even if Google discovered one or more of my user accounts and/or passwords they would have been of use for only a limited time, as I change them regularly and check all transactions. Surely everyone does that, don't they?

    That does not excuse Google any more than a loud voice excuses snooping, but I still trust Google (who only want to make money out of me) more than I will ever trust a politician or civil "servant" who's sole motivation is the acquisition and use of power over others.

  • Comment number 97.

    The Internet liberates us, the Corporations are what threaten our privacy.


    Googles WiFi escapade was nothing to do with the internet.
    It was about access to personal/private networks over WiFi (LAN is not WAN).


  • Comment number 98.

    52. At 2:40pm on 25 Oct 2010, SlimyKabadiGandu wrote:

    8. At 12:47pm on 25 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to have a wireless network that is unsecured they deserve what they get.


    Funny, but that is exactly the justification a burglar once gave me for why he thought it was ok to steal from people.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    Not quite the same thing is it. When you have a wireless network you are broadcasting information to everyone and everyone can receive that information. If you do not wish people to receive it, then you either secure that broadcast or make yourself a wired network.
    So it is not "exactly the justification a burglar once gave me for why he thought it was ok to steal from people." is it.

  • Comment number 99.

    Publishing private, confidential information for all others to see is an issue which has to be investigated thoroughly. If the information was obtained surreptiously, then Google should clean up its act. But if people left their sites unprotected they will have to pay for their own carelessness.

  • Comment number 100.

    75. At 3:52pm on 25 Oct 2010, ruffled_feathers wrote:

    "8. At 12:47pm on 25 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:
    If people are stupid enough to have a wireless network that is unsecured they deserve what they get. If google could grab information as it drove by, what do these people think that their neighbours are doing?"


    Yes, and if people are silly enough to leave their front door open and a burglar gets in, they deserved it - but that still doesn't justify the burglary, and the burglar may still go to prison.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    When you have a wireless network you are broadcasting information to everyone, so they can receive it if it is not secured, just as if someone was playing their stereo loud enough for people in the street to hear. When you leave the door open to your house, it is still your property and only those that are invited should come in. So there is no comparison.

 

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