Jun 15, 2011

Google May Publicize your Phone or Laptop's Location, I School Alumni Discover

From CNET News

Exclusive: Google's Web mapping can track your phone

By Declan McCullagh

SAN FRANCISCO--If you have Wi-Fi turned on, the previous whereabouts of your computer or mobile device may be visible on the Web for anyone to see.

Google publishes the estimated location of millions of iPhones, laptops, and other devices with Wi-Fi connections, a practice that represents the latest twist in a series of revelations this year about wireless devices and privacy, CNET has learned....

Tests performed over the last week by CNET and security researcher [and School of Information alumnus]  Ashkan Soltani showed that approximately 10 percent of laptops and mobile phones using Wi-Fi appear to be listed by Google as corresponding to street addresses. Skyhook Wireless' list of matches appears to be closer to 5 percent.

"I was surprised to see such precise data on where my laptop — and I — used to live," says Nick Doty, a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley [School of Information] who co-teaches the Technology and Policy Lab. Entering Doty's unique hardware ID into Google's database returns his former home in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle....


Last updated: October 4, 2016