Recently reported and much talked about is the controversial fact that Google has been steeling data through Wi-Fi network hotspots. This “theft” was committed through the Google Street Viewer vehicles, which are capable of locating and connecting to a Wi-Fi network hotspot. This activity by Google has been taken seriously by public as well as the Government. Most internet users have expressed a very negative response to this and further investigation is being conducted as to find out if Google has really broken a law. Before getting into the controversies, first lets take a look at how did they do it.
Google Street Viewer
It is a technology featured in Google Earth and Google Maps, that provides images of streets of different places in the world. Google Street View does not cover the whole world but many parts of the world. It provides panoramic views of different streets at various angles. The images are captured by Google Street Viewer vehicles. It can be a car, a tricycle or a snowmobile. The vehicles have a setup of nine directional cameras to take views at 360° and at a height of about 2.5 meters.
These vehicles are also equipped with 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas to connect with 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots. This is how, apparently, they spied into the data of other people who were using the same hotspot.
For more information regarding Google Street Viewer, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Street_View.
“WHO was harmed? Name the person.” Says Eric Schmidt the CEO of Google. Well mapping out the most visited sites is not a big deal. Trying to find out what they do online is.
The French Government has reported that the data that Google has captured contains passwords to medical services and banking. Google says that it has done nothing with the data and is proposing to erase it. Government wants to check the data in order to make sure Google has not done anything illegal. Hence erasing the data becomes forbidden.
Nobody wants their data to be read by the government or Google. The best option is to delete the data.
What do users have to say about this. Some say that Google should take responsibility for it’s wrong doing and stop pretending like it has not done anything wrong. Ever since the issue came up front, Google has been taking it very lightly. Although snooping into someone’s personal data is not just nothing.
On the other hand some believe that people should be more careful of their Wi-Fi networks and keep them password protected. They say that it is a user’s fault if he/she cannot protect their own Wi-Fi signals and data from getting hacked. The public should be more educated and aware of the technology before using it. It is due to public ignorance and lack of knowledge that has lead to such an issue.
Some are on both sides. They think that people should keep themselves more protected as well as Google’s action has proven to be degrading for the company. Some although are just confused as to why would Google need such data or what purpose would it serve.
Well whatever the reasons are, it is advised to Wi-Fi users to use a fully encrypted connection and keep their routers password protected in order to avoid such mishaps.