Google Privacy Lesson: Tighten Your Wi-Fi Security

By Bill Snyder, CIO |  Security, Google, Google Street View

I hate to blame the victim, but people who inadvertently gave up personal data to Google's Street View cameras were really asking for trouble.

That's because a simple precaution, clicking the encryption option in your router's set up page, will foil Google's cyber vacuum cleaners.

Then there's the never ending Facebook privacy leakage scandal. Last week we learned that Facebook's largest apps, which collectively boast tens of millions of users, are capturing personally identifiable information about Facebook users and sharing it with advertisers--violating both Facebook's and the app makers' own privacy policies. And now thanks to a research paper that's gotten little attention, it appears that gay men and women on Facebook may have been inadvertently outed to its advertisers.

Unlike the Google incident (which turned about to be more serious than we thought), you can't defend yourself against Facebook's intrusions with a one-button fix. Unless, that is, you take the simple step of staying off the popular social network, or more likely, scrupulously refusing to post anything that might embarrass or damage you now or in the future. Facebook has all sorts of privacy settings, but figuring them out and keeping current with the changes that occur after each unsettling incident, is just too complicated (for me at least.)

[Check out's Quick Tips on Facebook App security. Also see our Facebook guru Kristin Burnham's take on the newest privacy blips. ]

I would never defend actions that either carelessly or maliciously pull data from users without permission, but it really is time that all of us take responsibility for protecting our own privacy and personal data.

Don't you lock your door when you leave the house? I'm not judging anyone's corporate ethics; I'm simply observing that business models which are dependant upon advertising lend themselves to abuse, inadvertent and otherwise. After all, the more advertisers know about you, the better they can target their ads.

Google's Street View Did Harvest Data

When we learned that Google's Street View cameras were inadvertently harvesting personal data from Wi-Fi signals broadcast by the routers of consumers, it didn't appear that there was much danger. Google said that only brief, anonymous snippets were collected. But it turns out that wasn't entirely true.

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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