It was recently discovered that Google had been collecting data transmitted over unsecured wireless networks points through packet captures and then stored the data. Google’s Streetview cars have been driving around all over the country – and the w0rld – compiling a list of unencrypted hot-spots so they could then filter the information and post the hot-spots to their maps. I can understand the motivation of adding Wi-Fi hotspots to their maps, and I can also understand the implications. Just imagine all the businesses without “IT guys” who have unencrypted wireless access points that would show up in the results. What a gold-mind of data for identity thieves. Anyway, Google was building this list but was also going around doing packet captures on the wireless network and storing that data. That means that they were intercepting the traffic of the networks including logins, passwords, bank info, etc. and as part of the lawsuit against them, they are being forced to turn over all the data they collected. I hope you don’t use unencrypted networks because if you do and Google drove by, chances are that they grabbed that hot email you wrote your wife and will be providing that to the courts where it might just become public record.
During all this controversy Google applied for a patent the technology used to snoop out those unencrypted networks. I don’t think they are sorry. Turns out that Google is getting into the WarDriving business.