[kwlug-disc] [OT] Google sniffing wifi, collecting emails and passwords.

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Fri Jun 25 14:59:11 EDT 2010

On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 1:45 PM, unsolicited <unsolicited at swiz.ca> wrote:

> My guess is you're forgetting, and Glenn can confirm ... Google remembers
> every search / lookup done. Combine their knowledge of your MAC address and
> your IP (from the searches), and you now become a potential victim for
> targeted advertising. You always have been, but now they know where you
> were, so the local plumbing  store's ads now come up.

Let us put things in their right perspective.

One drawback of conspiracy theories (of all sorts) is that they take too
much energy against an imaginary threat. When a real one comes buy, there
will be confusion as to whether it is real or not.

Google (the search engine) has no knowledge of your MAC address. It is not
transmitted over all the hops between my ISP's first point through the
internet all the way to Google. Only your IP address makes it that far, and
yes they do log it, but not the MAC address.

The Google van doing Street View only visits a certain location every so
often (at most once a year in our area, if not more)? The correlation
between IP address and MAC address (if they did that even), is a snapshot in
time. Most ISPs will NOT keep your address the same for that long. So this
data is very transient in nature, not to be useful in correlating WHO, just
a database of devices for geolocation.

At best, if they had that data (IP vs. MAC) is that they can use it for
things like: how much market share does each ISP has in this part of the
city, but not much more than that.

Compare that to things like phone number, which is a) permanent for a land
line for decades and b) referenced against one or two people in a public
database (phone book), and it has far more implication than the transient
nature of you IP address (DHCP leases expire after a few months at best) or
MAC address (routers get changed in a couple of years).

Combine that with phone companies (and magazines, ...etc.) selling your REAL
name, address, ...etc. to marketers, spammers, and scammers, and you see
which threat is worse. One we have accepted as part of life for decades, and
the other of a much lesser degree and we are making a bigger fuss about.
Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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