stories filed under: "wiretap"
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 11th 2011 4:13pm
After an apparently, technically clueless judge ruled last week that WiFi is not a radio communication, and thus suggested Google's collection of open WiFi data represents illegal wiretapping, Google has asked for an immediate appeal on that point, noting that "reasonable judges could disagree," and that fighting a whole trial on other points wouldn't make sense if another court says WiFi is, in fact, a radio communication and, thus, an open WiFi network is not subject to wiretap laws.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Apr 19th 2011 6:36am
Judge In Google WiFiSpy Case Trying To Determine If Packet Sniffing Open Networks Is An Illegal Wiretap
from the it-shouldn't-be... dept
In the consolidated cases against Google for intercepting some unencrypted data passing over open WiFi networks as part of its Street View operation, the judge is now looking to determine if basic packet sniffing is the equivalent of an illegal wiretap. Google, and one would imagine, most people who understand the technology, are arguing that's silly. The nature of WiFi is that it takes the unencrypted bits and makes them wide open to anyone on that network. That's how the technology is designed. If you don't like it, you encrypt. Arguing, retroactively, that seeing the data that is put in the open on purpose is somehow an illegal wiretap seems silly, but that's what the case hinges on. Hopefully, the judge is either technologically savvy enough to understand this, or can be well educated in the nature of how an open WiFi network works... Otherwise, a lot of people may be facing wiretapping charges for activity that many people consider perfectly normal on a network.