Posted by: peterhact | October 23, 2010

Google singled out for WiFi breaches – I must have missed something…

Google got in trouble here for accessing wifi networks and potentially downloading commercial data, email and other data. It went to the AFP, who, surprisingly, took it seriously. Here is the bit I don’t get. If you haven’t bothered to secure your wifi network and you are running a business, you get what you deserve – a wake-up call. Basically, as the Google streetview car drives down a street, uploading images on a wifi hotspot, it interrogates hosts and, if they are open, connects. Not rocket science. If the connection isn’t a defined hotspot, and Google connects, who is at fault? the Google wifi system for daring to connect, or the idiot who hasn’t set up any form of protection on the access point? Even Bigpond has defined WPA Passkeys for home wireless networking.

Sysadmins know to protect the network. why would wifi be any different? it is just a network without cables. What really got to me was that Google notified the sites it realised had been connected to in error. Why didn’t these operators of business thank Google and implement better security, instead of jumping up and down and demanding that the federal government do something? For goodness sake.

If you use wireless, as I do, with a firewall enabled, WPA passkey enabled and visibility of who tries to connect, you get to realise who cannot get in without help. If I was compromised on wireless, I would look to fix it, not call for the government to hold my hand and make everything better.

This is where the blasted filter is coming from. some people decided that the internet safety is the government’s responsibility, and have told them to sort it out, chop, chop. I don’t need the government to keep me safe on wifi, the internet or implement policies that effectively are unconstitutional. My right to say what I want, when I want is a freedom that I have in this country. Saying that I cannot go somewhere and do something that the government has deemed as unsafe is laughable. we get advisories about countries that are dangerous to visit, not lockdown “you can’t go there”… we have the freedom to make our own decisions and wear the consequences. That is something I am glad I can do.

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