This is just one of many articles over the last view months with what is, in my opinion, a sensationalistic headline : Google Street View Car Spied on you.
Apparently the Google Street View Car that drives along the roads of developed / popular countries taking photos of the surroundings, also collected WiFi information. “For locating WiFi Hotspots”, said Google. But along with this it also apparently copied whatever information was floating in the Ether at just that moment.
And that info apparently included emails, web addresses and passwords and happened in England, France, Germany and the US.
But instead of the media saying “Watch out! If you don’t password protect your WiFi network, any guy driving around with a laptop can download your transmitting information”, they are screaming “Google spied on you!”.
What bullshit. First of all, how did the public find out Google collected this information in the first place? Because Google admitted it.
Secondly, never mind the fact that Google had the means to collected this kind of information (with something like Wire Shark, so do you), you have to ask yourself how was it possible for them to collect this info while driving by no less. The answer is because the wireless networks were open, ie. not password protected and thus, for all practical purposes, open to the public.
These people should be lucky it was Google that captured their data and not some hacker kiddie war driving with his laptop collecting your personal emails and Internet banking passwords for far more sinister purposes, such as liberating you from your hard earned cash by either stealing it or a little bit of creative extorsion.
So no, Google didn’t spy on you – Google exposed you for the idiot that you were if you let this happen.
Now password protect your wireless network before somebody else who won’t tell you about it comes and steals your personal data.