From the Telegraph:
Google has mapped every wireless network in Britain in order to use the information for commercial purposes, it has emerged.
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
Published: 3:01PM BST 30 May 2010
Every WiFi wireless router – the device that links most computer owners to the internet – in every home has been entered into a Google database.
The data is then used on Google’s Maps for Mobile application to locate mobile phones such as iPhones in order for users to access information relevant to the area such as restaurants, cinemas, theatres, shops and hotels.
The project had remained secret until an inquiry in Germany earlier this month in which Google was forced to admit that it “mistakenly” downloaded data packets, which may have included fragments of emails and other data, from unsecured wireless networks where they were not protected by a password.
What seems to be the first publicized admittance of databasing WiFi networks, Google has been forced to disclose the purpose for their Street Car information captures. Instead of solely taking pictures and video of streets and landscapes for directions and their general map software, Google has now been exposed detailing every Wireless Network on the island of Great Britain.
To those lovers of Google technology out there, this seems to be an ideal situation. If Google can somehow record the WiFi networks in use, it will be able to more broadly offer services to aid the customer and average net user. Only in a dream world, perhaps.
The situation that has arisen places Google at the control for much more than may be admitted in public. For example, it is known that Google has been working with the National Security Agency in order to prevent ‘cyber attacks‘. The complete extent of this has yet to be declassified, but it is most likely in accordance with what Google CEO Eric Schmidt admitted back in November:
I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines — including Google — do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities.
What can be learned from the rise of Google and similar Internet Leviathans is that they, like all major power brokers, cannot be trusted nor controlled to serve in the public’s best interest. It is therefore important for every individual user to take the correct safeguards in protecting information, whether personal or business, so it does not fall into the wrong hands.
The mapping of WiFi networks is only the latest in the over-reaching grasp of the Google empire. Once the entire Internet is cataloged, IP addresses, WiFi networks and ISP information will be matched accordingly and more detailed profiles of average Internet users will be made available to the elite in the public and private sectors—-for the purpose of control and market exploitation.
This Leviathan can only be spread, however, by those who support the system and the status quo. Take care to personally encrypt and block all personal information, even if that means undoing that Google homepage we’ve all become accustomed to in a matter of years.