Snooping in itself is invasion of privacy. Be it WiFi, or non- WiFi. It gives access to information that doesn’t belong to the eyes of the unauthorised persons. In this case, it may be difficult to argue whose mistake it is but all parties involved are definitely in the wrong. Question is, how much? Considering that Google is an information based company, its work is to offer information that it has sourced from the public, to the public. But in some instances, the method it uses to sources has to be a fair and legally accepted manner.
Simultaneously, if a member of the Congress is able to have access to information of national security, isn’t that snooping? Considering that all this was away from work. First is to ask if he, whether at home or work, was right to access the information as per the powers vested upon him by the government.
Having access to national security information, using unencrypted WiFi network also shows the level of ignorance from the powers involved. Such information should be accessible to a limited number of persons, for the sake of national security. The question being, what about the many others that operates as Google. How many others might have accessed the same information and maybe, much more?
In the case of responsibility, warnings have been out there about securing the WiFi networks and it is apparent that they have been continuously ignored. There is no excuse for anyone, especially dealing with state security information to have an unprotected WiFi network.
Still, blame may be directed to all sides involved depending on the viewer. But for the sake of national security, maybe the lawmakers are the main culprits. Taking the worst of circumstances, if a well equipped group with clandestine motives would have been in Google’s shoes, it might have been a different case right now. It might have been a case of a forest fire from a hunter’s borne fire.
In any case, being law makers doesn’t give any of them the right to misuse or mishandle state information. If strict rules would have been put in place regarding such kind of information, then maybe the source would have been more careful with the information. Therefore, the Congress and the powers above are to be blamed for negligence and stupid actions.
Responsibility from within
Honestly, on Google’s side, they acted just the same way most of us would. Selfishly. Considering that communication and information transfer is their main line of work, to an extent, though it was a wrong decision, they did what they had to do. On a rather lighter note, Google took responsibility for the unauthorised WiFi data acquisition.
At the end, it’s not a question of who’s to blame, but how much blame is each one to take. Google, having known that the information is of national security, should have treated it as such. Stealing is wrong and archaic. But on the Congress’s part, being stupid to a level of putting the whole country at risk is something different.