Google’s horrendous breach of privacy with its StreetView data-collection gaffe may at least have one beneficial consequence: making WiFi users think more about security.
Consumer Watchdog, which has emerged as one of the main anti-Google agitators, decided to follow in the tracks of the StreetView cars – literally. It sent out its own vehicle to “sniff” the WiFi networks of certain members of the US Congress whose homes have been photographed by the Google service.
That’s embarrassing for Jane Harman, who heads the intelligence subcommittee for the House’s Homeland Security Committee. It turns out she has an open home network – though there’s no way of telling if she used if for company business. Given that StreetView cars were automatically sucking up data from all the open networks they could find, it’s a fair bet that at least some of her personal material ended up on Google’s servers.
How many other members of Congress are exposed to drive-by spying like this? It’s amazing that such vulnerabilities still exist.