The Norman Transcript


June 27, 2010

Is Google hacking your wireless network?

NORMAN — Perhaps you’ve heard of the recent controversy involving Google and their Google Street View project. It seems they have been grabbing data from wireless networks without permission. Is Google guilty of stealing? Read on and decide for yourself.

If you’ve never heard of Google Street View, read my August 2008 column titled, “Google Street View plunders our town,” which may be found on my website.

The current Google Street View controversy centers around the fact that, for the past three years, not only has Google been driving around our town photographing our homes and posting the pictures on the Internet, they have also been gathering information from our wireless networks. It seems that Google is not satisfied to merely post pictures of our homes on the Internet; they also want to let the world know whether or not our homes are using wireless networks.

Of course, Google says that its wireless network data-gathering activities were harmless and “inadvertent,” and that they only collected data from insecure, unencrypted wireless networks.

That all sounds nice, but consider this: in order for me to collect data from a wireless network, unencrypted or not, I have to tell my computer to search for available wireless networks, select the wireless network of my choice and tell my computer to “connect.” None of this happens “inadvertently,” or by accident. Deliberate actions are required.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is currently pooling the resources of 30 states to determine exactly what data was collected by Google, and to decide if Google’s activities were illegal.

“Street View cannot mean Complete View — invading home and business computer networks and vacuuming up personal information and communications,” Blumenthal said. “Consumers have a right and a need to know what personal information — which could include e-mails, web browsing and passwords — Google may have collected, how and why.” Investigations are also being conducted in Germany and Australia.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Ideal Homes to dedicate Oklahoma’s first Home for HOPE

    Ideal Homes dedicated the company’s first Home for HOPE on Wednesday at 13209 SW 5th in Yukon....

    July 27, 2014

  • Todd Lamb to keynote luncheon

    Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb will provide the keynote address at the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Lunch at 11:45 a.m. Aug. 6 at the National Weather Center. Lamb will speak on state issues that may impact local business and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma learns about storm water proposal

    The Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma invited Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary to talk about the new storm water fee proposal at its luncheon Thursday....

    July 27, 2014

  • Backing up everything, everywhere, not as easy as it should be

    Though we may wish or believe otherwise, computing devices are still somewhat of a hassle to use. Some devices, like Apple’s iPad, come close to being fully realized machines, but even iPads have their clunky side....

    July 27, 2014

  • Is using E10 or ‘pure’ gasoline more economical?

    An analysis by AAA Oklahoma shows that at today’s prices, E10 motor fuel is cheaper to use than 100 percent gasoline, despite the fewer miles per gallon produced by E10, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline....

    July 27, 2014

  • Appellate judge retiring

    The Honorable Charles A. Johnson retired from the Court of Criminal Appeals after 25 years on the bench. Johnson was appointed to the court on Oct. 31, 1989, by Gov. Henry Bellmon to fill the unexpired term of Hez J. Bussey. After 59 ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Candy Basket celebrates 25 years

    Perhaps it’s the chocolate covered blueberries whose deliciousness still lingers. Or maybe it’s the blood orange and wild honey white chocolate ganache that won’t soon be forgotten by your taste buds. At The Candy Basket there is decadence ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Bramlett & Associates adopts new name reflective of business

    Bramlett & Associates Multimedia LLC (Bramlett Multimedia), 215 W. Main St., announced this month that the company will change its name after 12 years in business and will do business as BOLD-Multimedia. The announcement, made first to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Toothpick holders convention coming to Norman

    Lynne Ryan has been collecting toothpick holders her entire life. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. ‘Bud’ Gibbs started our collection in 1936,” Ryan said. Ryan was born in 1940, and she grew up crawling around toothpick holders, as have ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Protect your online banking, shopping with encryption

    In my free, one-night class called “Fight the Internet Bad Guys and Win,” I teach everyday computer users how to stay out of trouble on the Internet. How to avoid virus infections, how to discern between the genuine and counterfeit, and ...

    July 20, 2014