Is Google a Cybercriminal?
Google in creating their StreetView product has gone too far. By analysing open wifi networks of people’s home wireless connections, Google has made the world suspicious. Too many of us to this day, still do not close our home internet connections - walk down any street with your smart phone and you can scan wifi connections. From my house, to the train station in the morning I have counted three out of 29 wifi hotspots that are open. I’m not a cybercriminal, I am not interested in sniffing the wifi network for open PC’s connected to it, but other nasty people may.
“That is not good behaviour” is what we say to our daughter when she has been misbehaving. This morning on Today Show with Karl, that is what I felt like saying about Google.
Most of the time I am a fan of what Google does and the products that they release. Some products are great and are widely used, like Google Earth. Others are great and don’t get used enough, like Google Wave. Rarely do I scratch my chin and wonder, ‘what were they thinking?’
However today this is precisely what I am thinking. Google Street View is a great tool for looking at streetscapes in our suburban environment. Yes, it makes what you do in your front yard visible to the planet via the internet. If you can be seen from the road, you could be scanned by StreetView. But it’s great when buying a house, as you can see the street you are going to look at and can bypass the real estate agents glossy photos of the house frontage (which are designed to make you think the house is awesome).
Cyber Criminals capture information about people without their consent and they trade this information for financial gain. I despise these groups. They rip people off by trading on their lack of technology knowledge. In this case the reason the wifi is open is by mistake. Is Google is now one of those people?
I agree, Google say they are deleting any information they have found. Great, well done to you. However the damage is done. You have scanned and processed people’s information, without their consent. You now only need to disperse it in some way, and you have now carried out the functions of a CyberCriminal.
About Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown is one of Australia's foremost commentators on consumer lifestyle technology. He publishes, produces and hosts CyberShack, is Channel 9's technology expert, and hosts Life & Technology and 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.
Charlie is able to communicate, educate and inspire a huge audience, without confusing technological jargon.
Life & Technology is on the air Sunday mornings at 10am on 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.