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Google Street View Cars Caught Snooping on Peoples Wi-Fi Networks

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posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 04:35 AM
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Google Street View Cars Caught Snooping on Peoples Wi-Fi Networks


www.theregister.co.uk

Google's roving Street View spycam may blur your face, but it's got your number. The Street View service is under fire in Germany for scanning private WLAN networks, and recording users' unique Mac (Media Access Control) addresses, as the car trundles along.

Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection Peter Schaar says he's "horrified" by the discovery.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 04:35 AM
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"I am appalled… I call upon Google to delete previously unlawfully collected personal data on the wireless network immediately and stop the rides for Street View," according to German broadcaster ARD.

Spooks have long desired the ability to cross reference the Mac address of a user's connection with their real identity and virtual identity, such as their Gmail or Facebook account.


Google is developing into a very scary company. Intruding our privacy for their profitability or worse. The fact that they have joined the select
group of Bilderberg attendees makes it even worse. I think we all agree that internet is not much longer going to be the free heaven it now is and your privacy will be lost.

I wonder how this is going to affect the advertisement business - with such accurate and personal information, people can be targeted much more effectively. I am sure governments will be very interested too.

www.theregister.co.uk
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 05:51 AM
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No time to check into this at the moment but if true it looks like they are building one heck of a database!

Google turning bigger-brother.



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 06:05 AM
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An incredibly biassed article that not only misses out citations but doesn't even explain what it is implying.

The Register usually does get the best scoops and is normally a very good news source but this is just a paranoid maniac piece by someone with no writing skills.

-m0r



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 06:17 AM
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Originally posted by m0r1arty
An incredibly biassed article that not only misses out citations but doesn't even explain what it is implying.

The Register usually does get the best scoops and is normally a very good news source but this is just a paranoid maniac piece by someone with no writing skills.

-m0r


Could you explain why you think this article is biased? Frankly speaking, I don't see it, nor do I see why Google has equipment installed that intrudes our privacy, what exactly is so much 'paranoid' about this report? Besides, The Register cites Peter Schaar, Germany's Federal Commissioner for Data Protection.

There's plenty of sources about this in the German media.
source
source2
source3
source4
source5

Are you implying that these (renowned) German newspapers are all biased? After all, they state exactly the same.









[edit on 24-4-2010 by Mdv2]



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 06:31 AM
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if you're worried about someone recording the MAC address of your WAP, simply run out and buy a new one - often. I'm sure you can replace your unit faster than Google can schedule another drive-by

More fear-mongering on an uneducated public..



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 06:34 AM
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I'm not surprised. Google is in collaboration with CIA on intelligence matters.

www.dailytech.com...



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 06:36 AM
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Back when wireless networks first hit the market, there were several war diving warez (such as NetStumbler) that were developed which had some pretty good utility for finding an unsecure WiFi hotspot. Now there are full blown linux suites, complete with automated uploads and mapping. As far as I know it is fair game and legal, but when I saw this article it dawned on me that the data collected could be used in a very sinister way. While Google can sit there any deny any wrong-doing, there is nothing preventing them from selling the data to a 3rd party capable of who knows what. It wouldn't take but one major WiFi incident to occur before the gov is forced to step in because of a threat to national security or the imminent threat of cyber-terrorism. I never knew that Google's roving Street View spycam was a war driver as well... what a shocker. What the author of that article fails to mention, is that this is effectively the the same as Google walking up to your front door and twisting the knob to see if the door is unlocked. This is close as you can get to breaking the law without actually breaking it. And the fact that they intend to publish the information (or worst, to profit from it) is indeed a privacy issue and they should be held liable in the event something bad happens. Collecting the data is not the issue, but publishing the data is another story. It is the same as advertising to the world, that your front door is unlocked.

There were some major issue of Warkitting discovered 4-5 years ago, which basically allows a black hat to subvert traffic to/from specific WiFi hotspots which was pretty alarming to begin with, but since every McDonald's and Starbucks is wide open target I sort of dismissed this as a non-issue for a individual or residential customer although there is still a laundry list of legal and ethical considerations in play. Regardless of the obvious pivacy issue, the question I have is who is responsible for policing this type of thing. Nobody is going to do anything about this problem until something bad happens and that will be too late. Is there any legislation in place to address cyber-attacks (Federal/State/International)?? I can think of some really bad scenarios and I am sure people on both sides of the fence have thought about them as well. I am just curious to know who has jurisdiction (domestically and abroad) for Internet access because I have never even heard it openly discussed until now. I'm also curious to know how many WAPjacking incidents would bring down the entire Internet? If there are vulnerabilities all over the world, it seems a coordinated attack on the NAPs would cripple the whole net. All those people with a Denial of Service of facebook, twitter and google would be like armageddon.. LOL.



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 07:45 AM
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reply to post by TXRabbit
 


Indeed.

I also query how exactly they can tie a MAC address to an individual street address too. Just detecting a Wifi Network doesn't tell you were someone lives, unless they named their network with "123 Dipstick Avenue". There is also nothing stopping anyone else doing this either, it aint just Google. Shady types can sit outside your house too.

Bottom line is though, if you're not a peado/terrorist/drug lord or what have you, I doubt that anyone gives a monkeys what your up too online. The intelligence services have a hard enough time doing the jobs they have now rather than monitoring whole populations.

However, if you are a peado/terrorist/drug lord and want to keep secrets, then just go and buy a new router or what have you. MAC addresses are fixed to each physical device at the factory. Google are not going to be driving around your neighbourhood any time soon, so it's a total non-story.



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 08:08 AM
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Google street view is the biggest spy op since israel was created.

2 cents



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 08:13 AM
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reply to post by stumason
 


Stu, Google has cars and drivers mapping every street in every country. They have your house photographed I'll bet and therefor they have your MAC address logged if you have a wireless network. I see it doesn't bother you, but that would mean that every site you've ever visited and every comment you've ever made on a blog like this could be traced to you regardless of your IP address. Never clicked a link in somebody's post and ended up somewhere distasteful? Never said anything that might look bad to a prospective employer? Never discussed anything you want kept private in an IM or email?

With your MAC address it's possible to catalog everything that computer ever did on the Internet and Google has the databases and computing power to do it.



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 08:47 AM
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Originally posted by mythatsabigprobe
reply to post by stumason
 


Stu, Google has cars and drivers mapping every street in every country. They have your house photographed I'll bet and therefor they have your MAC address logged if you have a wireless network. I see it doesn't bother you, but that would mean that every site you've ever visited and every comment you've ever made on a blog like this could be traced to you regardless of your IP address. Never clicked a link in somebody's post and ended up somewhere distasteful? Never said anything that might look bad to a prospective employer? Never discussed anything you want kept private in an IM or email?

With your MAC address it's possible to catalog everything that computer ever did on the Internet and Google has the databases and computing power to do it.



Anyone finding themselves in the deplorable situation described above lol, simply bin your wifi / lan card and router and buy new ones.
Better still do some research and learn how to spoof MAC addresses.

This is media fear mongering nothing more.

[edit on 24/4/2010 by who-me?]



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 09:05 AM
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reply to post by stumason
 


Stu... man look , its not about wether or not we have anything to hide from the government or Google, its about the fact that they havent any right to know anything about us unless they have VERY good reason to believe we ARE evil criminal geniuses, master assasins, terrorists, peados and the like. Until such time as we give them decent grounds for suspicion, there should be a very thick layer of privacy between ourselves and google, and our selves and our governments, and certainly between ourselves and any third party google wants to sell our details to ! Surely this is obvious ! I know you have the nouse to see how this could be VERY bad indeed?



posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 12:55 PM
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reply to post by mythatsabigprobe
 


My point was, and still is, how can they know what MAC address ties up to what address? For example, my neighbours both have wireless networks broadcasting as well as myself.

How can they know what house contains what network?

They cannot, not without sophisticated tracking equipment which if they are using is a wholly different thing to what has been described.

Merely driving by and logging MAC addresses is no more than anyone can do. You could go and do it tomorrow if you really wanted to. But you couldn't be certain which MAC address purtained to which house.

It's the nature of having wireless, you broadcast out to anyone listening. You can take steps to secure your network, but ultimately if you don't want prying eyes then go wired. Wireless is like having a loud conversation and then getting funny because people can hear what your saying.

Want a private conversation? Keep the noise down.

EDIT: And has been said a few times, if your really bothered by it, change your router and network cards. They all have totally different MAC addresses and therefore any record Google has is now obsolete.

EDIT 2: You are also aware that when you visit Google's website, they can see your MAC address to? It's broadcast out in every packet your computer sends, whether it be wired or wireless.



[edit on 24/4/10 by stumason]



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:19 PM
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Originally posted by stumason
EDIT 2: You are also aware that when you visit Google's website, they can see your MAC address to? It's broadcast out in every packet your computer sends, whether it be wired or wireless.
[edit on 24/4/10 by stumason]


thats at a lower level than i work but would google not just get the mac address of the last hop in the request ?

if what you say is true then the only option would be sending lots of misleading requests to google so they don't know if your into pink knickers or pink elephants

Google could had tried to pull everyones mac address as they drove around taking pictures for google street.

This needs to be stoped in everyones interest else we might as well go for RFID implants right now.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:29 PM
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This is indeed unneeded paranoia fear mongering for the uneducated.

Just change your mac address...

www.irongeek.com.../changemac

You can even install software that changes your mac address every re-boot.

www.gorlani.com...

Edit; for some reason that first link won't come up right, just search for change mac address.

[edit on 4/25/2010 by ANOK]



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:31 PM
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Originally posted by ANOK
This is indeed unneeded paranoia fear mongering for the uneducated.

Just change your mac address...

www.irongeek.com.../changemac

You can even install software that changes your mac address every re-boot.

www.gorlani.com...


Beat me to it...I was going to call everyone a n00b for not realizing this. You can even change the router's MAC address as easily.

Static IP addresses are more of a concern.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 03:32 PM
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I believe that a HTTP server cannot find out the clients MAC address, so if I am right, then Google cannot find out a visits MAC address by them simply visiting the website.



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 07:27 PM
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Originally posted by joesomebody
Static IP addresses are more of a concern.


Use a proxy server?

www.ipaddresslocation.org...

nOOb



posted on Apr, 25 2010 @ 09:02 PM
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Okay, I'm about to just plain OOZE sarcasm here when I state:

Yes, people, the solutions you are presenting are absolutely viable for the vast majority of computer users, who as we all know are capable of doing so much more than turning on their computer and clicking on the picture labeled "Internet Explorer" to make their web browser come up.

Sarcasm over, now for the "Shame on you, fellow ATSers" portion of my post.

I suppose you also all believe that if somebody isn't computer savvy, they automatically forfeit their right to privacy. That seems to be what you're saying... "If you don't replace perfectly functional hardware to change your MAC address, you deserve to be spied on!" or "lol n00b doznt kno how 2 sekure hiz netwerxz lolz!"

What a bunch of elitists. The vast majority of us have better things to do than live in our parents' basements playing WoW on one computer and taking MCSE courses for shoots and giggles on two others, but if you think that nullifies our rights to privacy then you need to grow up.






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