Google admits it also stole emails and passwords

Google has been under investigation for the past couple of months for 'accidentally' stealing WiFi data on its Google Street View cars. The cars were designed to take snapshots of streets to help improve its feature, expanding it to additional countries including Canada and Germany. The data was captured through an experimental project that Google accidentally included in its street view cars.

However, the Google street cars took more than just photos, it also took personal information, like user IDs. According to a report by Reuters, Google stole more than just the details it originally claimed, it also captured full emails, URLs and even passwords.

The original report left out these important details, and some countries have even allowed Google to delete this data, including the UK. The Canadian privacy commissioner is still investigating the matter, as Google did break Canadian privacy laws.

Google did claim that some of the data collected was fragmented, because the cars were always moving, but some information that was captured was complete. Google went on to say that it was enhancing its privacy training for their engineers and important groups within the company.

Image credit: Freefotouk

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"The data was captured through an experimental project that Google accidentally included in its street view cars" Give me a Fncikn break.

Yet another reason for me to despise Google, which I have since day one!!

Believe it or not, Google IS NOT the greatest thing on earth!!

vladtm said,
Collecting SSID's is useless, maps improvements for localization, but other then this... useless.

it's not useless. my ipod touch who has no GSP chip whatsoever is mostly always able to locate where I am over wifi.

And how is this any different from google packet sniffing with their servers? Sure they might be doing it, but so what, so is the US government. Only the US government is doing it on a much larger scale.

Just like in real life, if you dont want someone to hear something, dont say it/type it.

no, google owns the power lines that give the electricity to your router, there is a clause there that states that the data is on their power so its there for them.

Sheesh people!!

Um, more sensationalist crap from Neowin. Can you guys just move on to some originality or something please?

Anyone who is surprised by this article is either not technically skilled (which is fine, obviously) or is trying to incite bull**** and get hits for their advertisements. It was admitted long ago when the issue came to light that unencrypted data was collected--unencrypted data contains any traffic that was transmitted by users of the wireless routers. This includes usernames, passwords, emails, dancing baby gifs and whatever the hell the users were looking at at the time the street view car drove by.

This is completely unsurprising and the article leaves out many key facts that have incited bull**** comments above like "how do they accidentally attach a sniffer to the car". Hey guys, it is AT LEAST worth mentioning in one line like:

"The technology responsible for capturing the data was initially intended to capture the names of the wireless access points only."

ascendant123 said,
Um, more sensationalist crap from Neowin. Can you guys just move on to some originality or something please?

Anyone who is surprised by this article is either not technically skilled (which is fine, obviously) or is trying to incite bull**** and get hits for their advertisements. It was admitted long ago when the issue came to light that unencrypted data was collected--unencrypted data contains any traffic that was transmitted by users of the wireless routers. This includes usernames, passwords, emails, dancing baby gifs and whatever the hell the users were looking at at the time the street view car drove by.

This is completely unsurprising and the article leaves out many key facts that have incited bull**** comments above like "how do they accidentally attach a sniffer to the car". Hey guys, it is AT LEAST worth mentioning in one line like:

"The technology responsible for capturing the data was initially intended to capture the names of the wireless access points only."


My thoughts exactly.

dewaaz said,
Exactly. The quality of reporting here needs to be improved greatly.

Read the tagline at the home page and understand this isn't your everyday 100% product update website that tells you when the next brightest and best things being released..

Lol. Just because someone makes it easy to steal from him or her, doesn't mean it's any more right to steal. That's like saying that a girl dressed in a very revealing way, deserves to get raped. She just had it coming, didn't she?

You can't 'accidentally' steal something - i.e. to steal without intent. The title of the article is incorrect, and deliberately misleading readers to sound controversial is poor form. I've noticed this has been occurring much more regularly over the last few months.

The quality of the 'journalism' on this website needs to have much more attention paid to it, if it is to be taken seriously. Else, it's just a glorified blog.

Google has been breaching privacy laws for quite some time, but noone has been saying anything about it.. yet...
I posted about it while back...

Why would they be monitoring wifi traffic, anyway? I'm not sure how they can say it was an accident while deliberately doing it. Unless the wifi monitoring was for some other purpose that I'm unaware of.

Shadrack said,
Why would they be monitoring wifi traffic, anyway? I'm not sure how they can say it was an accident while deliberately doing it. Unless the wifi monitoring was for some other purpose that I'm unaware of.

Indeed, what does taking photos have to do with sniffing the radio spectrum, war-driving black hat style so to speak ;-)?

Shadrack said,
Why would they be monitoring wifi traffic, anyway? I'm not sure how they can say it was an accident while deliberately doing it. Unless the wifi monitoring was for some other purpose that I'm unaware of.
Localized advertising.

Shadrack said,
Why would they be monitoring wifi traffic, anyway? I'm not sure how they can say it was an accident while deliberately doing it. Unless the wifi monitoring was for some other purpose that I'm unaware of.
Yea was wondering the same thing.

Besides just accessing the network without written permission is illegal by itself. You dont have to collect any other data at all. That's another crime!

Shadrack said,
Why would they be monitoring wifi traffic, anyway? I'm not sure how they can say it was an accident while deliberately doing it. Unless the wifi monitoring was for some other purpose that I'm unaware of.

I'm not entirely sure but I believe they are recording SSID, signal strength and its location. With GPS off the second i turn of WIFI on my phone Google Maps can almost pinpoint where I am lol.

bestbuy said,

I'm not entirely sure but I believe they are recording SSID, signal strength and its location. With GPS off the second i turn of WIFI on my phone Google Maps can almost pinpoint where I am lol.

Ummmmm. That's through cell phone triangulation--it uses the identifier of the cell phone tower you are connected to pinpoint your location based on your 3G signal strength among other things.

Completely normal from any map provider.

The WiFi sniffing was to record SSID, signal strength and location as bestbuy above said. This allows features on maps.google.com for desktop PCs and laptops to have their location pinpointed by checking the names (SSID's) of access points nearby. For example if Google drove past a house with the SSID "MYHOUSE" and the signal strength + gps location allowed them to narrow down exactly which house, they could later reliably say that a user in range of the "MYHOUSE" SSID was in that house, or at least in that neighbourhood.

This feature was turned on maps.google.com many many many months ago. The ability to check WiFi in range is part of Firefox and many other browsers (and possibly part of the HTML5 spec or another W3C experimental standard?).

Yeah... Google did not steal anything... because Google does not do evil. So therefore it is not possible!!

Google accidently engineered the cars to collect this information, then accidently collected the information and then finally - accidently stored it. The only thing that does not seem to be happening accidentaly is the said data deletion. But if I had to guess it - that's an accident too.

PotatoJ said,
What a misleading title. Google didn't 'steal' anything.

What did they do?

oops I slipped and accidently took and stored your private informations?

PotatoJ said,
Yes, read the original article on Reuters.

okay.................. Because to accidently collect this data is so easy to do.
I do it all the time, drive down a street and I'm covered in the stuff

evo_spook said,
okay.................. Because to accidently collect this data is so easy to do.
I do it all the time, drive down a street and I'm covered in the stuff
In theory, yes your body is indeed covered in this stuff when you drive down a street with open wifi . Now if you happened to be collecting MAC addresses of wifi hotspots for your own localization service too then if would even go through a laptop or some kind of logging device.

evo_spook said,

okay.................. Because to accidently collect this data is so easy to do.
I do it all the time, drive down a street and I'm covered in the stuff

Yeah, but your also looking for the stuff "EG: Laptop, SmartPhone, etc"

They stated they "accidentally added the wifi sniffing code into the street viewer cars". I find this to be complete BS.. The code was from a ongoing RIM Project that had nothing to do with the street viewing cars at face value.. How does 1 project accidentally end up coming in contact with another that's in full force? I can easily tell you that they did it on purpose. I also have 1 simple evidence to prove this.. The original article was wrote and the data was discovered by a third party over a year after it was collected.. You know how much data they collected VIA the wifi sniffers? Enough that shouldn't have ever gone unnoticed.. Google knew they had the data and they kept their mouth shut about it until the cat was out of the bag and they blamed it on bs excuses. Fact is they broke privacy laws and collected private data and it doesn't matter whether the network is secure or not.

Morphine-X said,

Yeah, but your also looking for the stuff "EG: Laptop, SmartPhone, etc"

They stated they "accidentally added the wifi sniffing code into the street viewer cars". I find this to be complete BS.. The code was from a ongoing RIM Project that had nothing to do with the street viewing cars at face value.. How does 1 project accidentally end up coming in contact with another that's in full force? I can easily tell you that they did it on purpose. I also have 1 simple evidence to prove this.. The original article was wrote and the data was discovered by a third party over a year after it was collected.. You know how much data they collected VIA the wifi sniffers? Enough that shouldn't have ever gone unnoticed.. Google knew they had the data and they kept their mouth shut about it until the cat was out of the bag and they blamed it on bs excuses. Fact is they broke privacy laws and collected private data and it doesn't matter whether the network is secure or not.

This ^

Morphine-X said,

Yeah, but your also looking for the stuff "EG: Laptop, SmartPhone, etc"

They stated they "accidentally added the wifi sniffing code into the street viewer cars". I find this to be complete BS.. The code was from a ongoing RIM Project that had nothing to do with the street viewing cars at face value.. How does 1 project accidentally end up coming in contact with another that's in full force? I can easily tell you that they did it on purpose. I also have 1 simple evidence to prove this.. The original article was wrote and the data was discovered by a third party over a year after it was collected.. You know how much data they collected VIA the wifi sniffers? Enough that shouldn't have ever gone unnoticed.. Google knew they had the data and they kept their mouth shut about it until the cat was out of the bag and they blamed it on bs excuses. Fact is they broke privacy laws and collected private data and it doesn't matter whether the network is secure or not.


If you do a little research, you'll see Google uses an open-source software called kismet, which by default saves the data to a file. They later found out about this and contacted the local authorities on how to destroy the data.

http://www.barcelonareporter.c...w_-_google_sto/2110100516am

Morphine-X said,

Yeah, but your also looking for the stuff "EG: Laptop, SmartPhone, etc"

They stated they "accidentally added the wifi sniffing code into the street viewer cars". I find this to be complete BS.. The code was from a ongoing RIM Project that had nothing to do with the street viewing cars at face value.. How does 1 project accidentally end up coming in contact with another that's in full force? I can easily tell you that they did it on purpose. I also have 1 simple evidence to prove this.. The original article was wrote and the data was discovered by a third party over a year after it was collected.. You know how much data they collected VIA the wifi sniffers? Enough that shouldn't have ever gone unnoticed.. Google knew they had the data and they kept their mouth shut about it until the cat was out of the bag and they blamed it on bs excuses. Fact is they broke privacy laws and collected private data and it doesn't matter whether the network is secure or not.

You don't even understand the issue and you pop up with this drivel.

The feature that was related to street view cars was collecting SSID's broadcasted by wireless networks--this is essentially the name of the wireless network and this is used in Google's geolocation (many other companies do this). This is akin to writing down the house numbers as you drive by; it provides no identifying or private information and it is meaningless information. The code that they used to log these SSID's was borrowed from another project they were working on to prevent reinventing the wheel--unfortunately this other project also logged data that was transmitted instead of just the SSID's and the feature was not correctly disabled as it should of been.

This has been known since day 1. The fact is if you collect unencrypted data then there will be some usernames/passwords/emails/child pornography/dancing baby gifs amongst what you collect simply because you are collecting everything. It is unavoidable.

In regard to your other 'evidence' (i.e. supposition and anecdotes) you clearly do not understand just how much data Google stores if you think that this would of been easily noticed. Google is in the DATA business. That's what they do. They store hundreds of trillions of terabytes of it.

ascendant123 said,

You don't even understand the issue and you pop up with this drivel.

The feature that was related to street view cars was collecting SSID's broadcasted by wireless networks--this is essentially the name of the wireless network and this is used in Google's geolocation (many other companies do this). This is akin to writing down the house numbers as you drive by; it provides no identifying or private information and it is meaningless information. The code that they used to log these SSID's was borrowed from another project they were working on to prevent reinventing the wheel--unfortunately this other project also logged data that was transmitted instead of just the SSID's and the feature was not correctly disabled as it should of been.

This has been known since day 1. The fact is if you collect unencrypted data then there will be some usernames/passwords/emails/child pornography/dancing baby gifs amongst what you collect simply because you are collecting everything. It is unavoidable.

In regard to your other 'evidence' (i.e. supposition and anecdotes) you clearly do not understand just how much data Google stores if you think that this would of been easily noticed. Google is in the DATA business. That's what they do. They store hundreds of trillions of terabytes of it.

I feel very bad for you. I clearly stated that the code used to collect SSIDs and MAC Address that was added in the Street View cars was indeed from another Project that was in motion in 2006. You talk about reinventing the wheel like you know what they're talking about, if so why repeat what I said. The collection of the data was a feature that worked as they coded it for.. The issue was the code that collected the data shouldn't have been added to the Street View cars as you stated.

""Google's revelation last month outlined that 600 gigabytes of personal data was collected from the camera-mounted cars in its Street View program, taken from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. The code responsible for the collection of this data was in "clear violation" of Google's rules and an internal investigation is underway. "

You assume to much, you assume I "clearly" don't know what a major corporation invests in such one as Google Inc.. Fact is a company with Googles standards "accidents" like this shouldn't happen. Google always throws the sentence

"They also said that the wireless capturing device changes channels five times a second along with the car being in motion means that the amount of potential data collected was minimal. "

Out there in different phrases, worded differently or what have you.. In the end Google knew they were storing the data and people like you are the ones they knew they would fool because no one would notice the extra 600 TBs worth of data lol. Believe it or not Google knew what they were doing. Why do you think they were so eagerly anxious to dispose of the data before any real investigation even began. If I were to sit in my car with lets say ...NetStumber (I know -.-) and record WiFi locations for a GPS Technology device I was working on and accidentally stored infomation that I didn't recognize was private data I would be arrested, fined and whatever else, but when a company such as Google does this and stores over 600 TB of data and says
"But it's now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products" a 6 month investigation happens..

My point is Google needs to be held accounted for.. Either the Company as a whole with a Fine or the engineers responsible for the code.

Morphine-X said,
My point is Google needs to be held accounted for.. Either the Company as a whole with a Fine or the engineers responsible for the code.

Google is taking responsibility. They took their data to local governments to find a way to destroy it. If you ask me, they are handling this situation rather gracefully.

Old news.

Google admitted quickly after they issue came out that they have been capturing raw network data of unprotected WiFi networks. That raw data includes everything everything being transmitted over the air in the clear while the Google car was in reach of the network. So yes, that could potentially be emails and passwords too. Strange to see people on tech site being surprised by this.

People should be happy it took Google to sniff their packets in order to wake the up about the insanity of running an unsecured WiFi network. Google already has the email and passwords of most of us anyway . And at least Google is big enough to get noticed. ANYONE can (and does) capture unencrypted WiFi packets. The people who should get investigated and have their minds checked are the ones who use these insecure networks.

"some countries have even allowed Google to delete this data, including the UK"
Wait, what? Are you implying it it is a bad thing they are OK with Google deleting this data? Do you really rather have Google handing these large quantities of data over to government organizations so they can take a look at it and see if there would be anything of interest in it for them? Perhaps the RIAA and MPAA should get access to this data too, just so they can check if there is nothing of interest in it for them either?

If these cars were constantly moving, how much data could've been captured in the 30 seconds it was in the range of a router?

And why was Google collecting this data anyway?

Menthix said,
Old news.

Google admitted quickly after they issue came out that they have been capturing raw network data of unprotected WiFi networks. That raw data includes everything everything being transmitted over the air in the clear while the Google car was in reach of the network. So yes, that could potentially be emails and passwords too. Strange to see people on tech site being surprised by this.

People should be happy it took Google to sniff their packets in order to wake the up about the insanity of running an unsecured WiFi network. Google already has the email and passwords of most of us anyway . And at least Google is big enough to get noticed. ANYONE can (and does) capture unencrypted WiFi packets. The people who should get investigated and have their minds checked are the ones who use these insecure networks.

"some countries have even allowed Google to delete this data, including the UK"
Wait, what? Are you implying it it is a bad thing they are OK with Google deleting this data? Do you really rather have Google handing these large quantities of data over to government organizations so they can take a look at it and see if there would be anything of interest in it for them? Perhaps the RIAA and MPAA should get access to this data too, just so they can check if there is nothing of interest in it for them either?

our passwords in gmail are encrypted

Menthix said,
People should be happy it took Google to sniff their packets in order to wake the up about the insanity of running an unsecured WiFi network.

HAHA. Such BS. Google Boy obviously. We should be happy because "it's Google" huh? Can I also be happy if Microsoft did that to me? Cut the crap, Google already joined the ranks of Evil Companies.

Trueblue711 said,
And why was Google collecting this data anyway?
They were capturing MAC addresses of WiFi access-points to tie them to GPS coordinates and use that for positioning services where GPS is not available.

AKLP said,
our passwords in gmail are encrypted
True. So are they when people use HTTPS/TLS/SSL to login to their email btw, even over an unencrypted network.

thenonhacker said,
Can I also be happy if Microsoft did that to me?
Sure, why not . Point is people should wake up and understand they are completely out in the open with an unencrypted WiFi network.

Menthix said,
Sure, why not . Point is people should wake up and understand they are completely out in the open with an unencrypted WiFi network.

Oh I can tell you're lying!!!

thenonhacker said,

Oh I can tell you're lying!!!

I hope you're joking here, but looking at your previous posts I get the feeling you're not.

On an unencrypted network... you are literally broadcasting data over the airwaves that can be picked up from quite far away.

laz45 said,
I don't see any problems with this, I do this all the time with unprotected routers. Lock it down...

So it's fine because you do it? hypocrite much? Sure people with unprotected networks are in for a world of troubles but it doesn't change the fact that it is essentially still -stealing- and not to mention breaks any sort of privacy laws that country/states have in place.

Your the type of a dumbass who would get caught, go to jail, approach the judge and speak those common lines like "it was unprotected, the person had it coming", but I bet it wont change the verdict that you still broke many laws.

Morphine-X said,

So it's fine because you do it? hypocrite much? Sure people with unprotected networks are in for a world of troubles but it doesn't change the fact that it is essentially still -stealing- and not to mention breaks any sort of privacy laws that country/states have in place.

Your the type of a dumbass who would get caught, go to jail, approach the judge and speak those common lines like "it was unprotected, the person had it coming", but I bet it wont change the verdict that you still broke many laws.


As of right now theres no real answer if it is breaking the law or not so I say go ahead google!

laz45 said,

As of right now theres no real answer if it is breaking the law or not so I say go ahead google!

theyz dling torrentz whilez theyz at it...z.

How is this new? I assumed this was the case from when they first said they collected unencrypted WiFi data. Did someone think that all emails and passwords are encrypted when sent over the internet?

Google I love you. We can be friends. Maybe you can just share some info you stole, I won't tell a soul. Promise ! <3
hugs and kisses

Or it translates to its actual definition - taking data they had no right to take in the first place.

Google wouldn't be under investigation if they "accidentally" stored data that was freely and willingly given to them now would they? Think about it.

Mippie said,
'stealing' here translates to 'accidentally storing information that was send to them'

Same with me and my torrents, I'm accidenatlly storing the information.

Mippie said,
'stealing' here translates to 'accidentally storing information that was send to them'

was send to them? how? Ohh wait, their car was pa-trolling around germany "collecting" data...

Mippie said,
'stealing' here translates to 'accidentally storing information that was send to them'

Right. /s And what if Microsoft did the same thing? Will it become "stealing" as in, "stealing"?

AKLP said,

was send to them? how? Ohh wait, their car was pa-trolling around germany "collecting" data...

So if the car was parked and the open wireless networks broadcasted right on to it, that would be OK? Are they only on the hook for the data captured while they were 'patrolling'?

This is essentially akin to me taking a photo of a friend and a third party popping up with a cam corder of The Hurt Locker in the background and me getting done for piracy. I wasn't trying to capture the film, I didn't want to capture the film, but god damnit they just bombarded me with it.

Honestly though the only thing that's reprimand-able here is that the data was captured at all instead of just the SSID's which I can see as an honest mistake. It may not of been an honest mistake, for sure, but it's entirely possible and as far as the law is concerned that should be enough.

This is why we have the concept of "reasonable doubt". Countries going after corporations because they can and to raise popularity/tourism prospects is just as bad.

ccoltmanm said,
These are the things they are telling us, and they are working closely with the US government. Please, leave me alone.

sounds a paranoid theory, but then again ain't paranoia if they really are out to get ya. hmmmm.

im with u, i dont trust them too much big govt these days in the UK and US.

Heh well, you're just asking for it if you use an unprotected network. That, and Google isn't doing things with the data they collected. If it was just an accident while they were indexing router ID's for geolocation, I don't see the problem.

Also, stealing ?

Ambroos said,
Heh well, you're just asking for it if you use an unprotected network. That, and Google isn't doing things with the data they collected. If it was just an accident while they were indexing router ID's for geolocation, I don't see the problem.

Also, stealing ?

If you leave your door open and someone goes in and steals everything that doesn't stop them from being thief or doing something illegal.

If this was a normal person doing this then they'd be up on charges, Google should face the same.

This is not rocket science. Using a private wireless network without permission is not legal, whether it's unprotected or not. Google TOOK the data without PERMISSION. That's why they use the word 'stealing' - because it described what Google did, whether it was an "accident" or not.

C_Guy said,
This is not rocket science. Using a private wireless network without permission is not legal, whether it's unprotected or not. Google TOOK the data without PERMISSION. That's why they use the word 'stealing' - because it described what Google did, whether it was an "accident" or not.
I think this sums everything up perfectly.
Google did steal the data, it was taken without permission.

C_Guy said,
This is not rocket science. Using a private wireless network without permission is not legal, whether it's unprotected or not. Google TOOK the data without PERMISSION. That's why they use the word 'stealing' - because it described what Google did, whether it was an "accident" or not.

Actually it's not the same as someone coming into your house. Your wireless network is a broadcast, similar to the radio or television. It is not illegal to view unencrypted signals for television nor is it illegal to listen to unencrypted radio signals. If you are stupid enough to broadcast unencrypted, then guess what people that's your own fault.

evo_spook said,

If you leave your door open and someone goes in and steals everything that doesn't stop them from being thief or doing something illegal.

If this was a normal person doing this then they'd be up on charges, Google should face the same.

Except in this case nobody goes inside the house and the analogy is completely unrelated. Google cars are bombarded with the information broadcast on the public 2.4/5 GHz and don't have a choice of discriminating against encrypted/unencrypted.
Its like driving by a house which is shooting money out the front door, and a dollar bill gets caught on your car as you drive buy. Except for the fact that the money can't be returned...

Google did absolutely nothing wrong, they just captured packets that were being broadcast. Something completely legal...

C_Guy said,
This is not rocket science. Using a private wireless network without permission is not legal, whether it's unprotected or not. Google TOOK the data without PERMISSION. That's why they use the word 'stealing' - because it described what Google did, whether it was an "accident" or not.

+∞

asdavis10 said,

+∞


Actually there is a law in the US that forbids packet sniffing of any kind without the express permission of users and/or owners of the network in question. So while I totally agree that folks who are idiots and don't encrypt their networks, its still illegal.

SharpGreen said,

Actually there is a law in the US that forbids packet sniffing of any kind without the express permission of users and/or owners of the network in question.

Link ?

zivan56 said,

Except in this case nobody goes inside the house and the analogy is completely unrelated. Google cars are bombarded with the information broadcast on the public 2.4/5 GHz and don't have a choice of discriminating against encrypted/unencrypted.
Its like driving by a house which is shooting money out the front door, and a dollar bill gets caught on your car as you drive buy. Except for the fact that the money can't be returned...

Google did absolutely nothing wrong, they just captured packets that were being broadcast. Something completely legal...

Obviously you have no clue what you are talking about...

1510 said,
http://www.google.com/search?q=illegal+to+packet+snif+us&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=&oe=#sclient=psy&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us%3AIE-Address&source=hp&q=illegal+to+packet+sniff+us&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=3eea7a74dd99b1fa

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=illegal+to+packet+sniff+us
(copy and paste, Neowin is being annoying).

sbdb said,
Obviously you have no clue what you are talking about...

And why's that? He made some valid points, you on the other hand seem to be relying on the word "obviously" so you won't have to explain your point (probably because you can't).

sbdb said,
Obviously you have no clue what you are talking about...
I pointed my garden hose so the water went into my neighbours garden.. then they put a bucket out to collect it in... OMG THEY'RE STEALING MY WATER

UHYVE said,
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=illegal+to+packet+sniff+us
(copy and paste, Neowin is being annoying).

And why's that? He made some valid points, you on the other hand seem to be relying on the word "obviously" so you won't have to explain your point (probably because you can't).


The problem seems to be that it's illegal in some countries and not others.

Personally unless google were actually using the data, or intentionally sought it out, then I don't really care. People should encrypt their networks.

evo_spook said,

If you leave your door open and someone goes in and steals everything that doesn't stop them from being thief or doing something illegal.

yes but that pretty much prevents you from making an insurance claim.