[LINK] Google's WiFi bungle

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Tue May 18 12:18:22 AEST 2010

Far be it from me to be an apologist for google but the thing they  
appear to have done wrong here is not mention the fact they'd  
collected wifi data.  We're talking here about data that people are  
"broadcasting".  Broadcasting to public streets.

If you are really serious about your security you don't use wireless.   
(You probably don't use the internet.)  You don't broadcast your  
internet activity to the public street.  Are you that serious?  Didn't  
think so.

I don't see how it's against the law in most countries to receive  
wireless as you drive.  Connecting via other people's wireless is a  
different matter and google hasn't mentioned that they did this.

I don't see this as google's bungle.  It's our bungle.

There're websites out there with collections of wifi SSID names that  
people have gathered while commuting to work.  Some of them are quite  


On 2010/May/18, at 11:31 AM, Richard Chirgwin wrote:

> Linkers,
> In one of those quotes that people put in the auto-paste, one of
> Google's bits of self-serving rationalisation includes this:
>> someone would need to be using the network as a car passed by; and  
>> our
>> in-car WiFi equipment automatically changes channels roughly five
>> times a second.
> This is meant to imply that really, personal data collection was truly
> accidental.
> But - here's where I need a technologist to confirm my understanding -
> changing channels is one of those things WiFi does. Isn't "frequency
> hopping spread spectrum" in the definition?
> So what I suspect is the "changing channels five times a second" is  
> just
> blowing smoke to create a general fog to confuse the media. Or am I
> horribly mistaken?
> RC
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Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

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