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Google May Be Able To Legally Listen In To Your Wi-fi Networking


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In short, if your Wi-Fi isn’t configured to be secure by the use of WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) or even the long broken Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP), then by the FCC’s rules it’s not illegal to listen in on it.

Yup, makes sense. Consider it like someone talking loudly about 'trade secrets'. It's public domain at that point. But if you whisper to someone, there is an assumed right of privacy (encryption), and thus makes it eavesdropping.

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It actually doesn't bother me at all that the law allows for anyone to listen to unencrypted, not just wifi, but radio anything. No one can expect privacy when they are spreading their own radiation into the personal private spaces of others without even attempting to make it private. As a matter of fact, I don't know if I would be ok with a law that made it a crime to crack someones wifi encryption. I do think it should be illegal, if not a crime, to take without permission any amount of bandwidth from anyone no matter how much radiation of theirs spills into your house or whatever, encrypted or not. I guess that standing, though, might make it imperative that the act of handshake capture requires the theft of bandwidth, even if just a miniscule amount. There's also the redundancy of the law that makes it illegal to steal, or even borrow from a willing neighbor, electricity, and since the radiation coming into our house from your neighbors wifi router uses electricity, you are stealing that as well if you even capture a handshake.

Just dealing with the actual matter of google driving by my house and listening to my (were it not encrypted) traffic, it most certainly is wrong, but I just don't see any justification or practical reason to make it illegal.

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I feel much the same way. If you are broadcasting ANY kind of unencrypted signal, there should be no law against "listening" to those signals. As a Ham Radio operator, I'm used to the idea that whatever I say is fair game for anyone else to listen to. It's kind of like looking into other people's cars. It may be perceived as suspicious, but when I walk through a parking lot I can't help but take glances inside people's cars. It's not illegal and its assumed that by driving a car in public and parking in a public place that people are going to be able to see what's in your ride.

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Seems to make sense. There really shouldn't be an expectation for privacy. Now I think the line gets crossed when you perform some sort of MITM attack vs something like https, etc... on an open network. But accessing an open wifi and merely listening to whats out in the open seems innocent enough.

Edited by bazju
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