War for the Web
25 09.13

Wifi (in)security

It came out a few weeks ago that Google, the benevolent giant, has access to all the wireless passwords stored on Android devices. For the uninitiated, let me explain how this works.

When you bring home and Android phone, you probably log it in to your home Wireless network. Then you backup your phone to the cloud, because it’s easy and convenient and why wouldn’t you? That puts your wireless passwords (along with any other passwords stored on your phone) in the cloud, and more to the point, in Google’s cloud.

What’s recently come to light is that they can read that information, and do. This isn’t new for Google. When they built streetview maps for much of Europe (and probably the United States, but who cares because Big Business!), they collected information and data from unsecured Wifi networks. This got them into pretty hot water with the European Union, but apparently didn’t stem their desire to know everything about everyone. Who knows when you may need to spy on anyone!

Google has been great, so far. They’ve strengthened the Internet and they’ve been great for the US economy, but allowing them to do things like this assumes that they’ll always be great. That’s really dangerous. We don’t give our elected leaders this kind of power (or at least, we didn’t think we did), why is it acceptable for a private company to have it? We, the people, have far less oversight over a private company than we do over the government.

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