Wi-Fi surveillance: Who is watching- and why?

bigbrother

(Eyes everywhere – CC BY-SA 3.0 )

How many people read the terms and conditions when signing up for a social media site or when logging onto a new Wi-Fi network? To be honest, 9 out of 10 times, I don’t. And for some reason, I´m guessing I´m not alone.

Tweet embedded from my@chrisfriden profile respectively.

When it comes to logging into Wi-Fi networks in public places I´m more aware than ever. Therefore, I only use my phone data. For that, I am a bit more sceptic, and for a good reason; Public Wi-Fi use raises hacking risk. Wireless networking makes life easy for those that use it, but unless properly configured, it is also remarkably easy to attack (Bradbury 2011).

Tweet embedded from my@chrisfriden profile respectively.

Take for instance Starbucks. Whoever skilled person with bad intentions can hack your phone going through- or by setting up a fake Wi-Fi network to access your sensitive data and bank details. That scares me enough to stay away from the temptation of free internet.

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(Free Wi-FiCC BY 2.0)

As a safety rule, you shouldn´t use open Wi-Fi networks in general. But if you must; By installing virtual private network (VPN), you can protect yourself. The software encrypts all Internet traffic on your device.

If I am to visit friends or family for a weekend I log on to their Wi-Fi network. This because I don´t want to waste all my phone data. And off course, when I´m at University I feel “safe” and I never really stop to think that somebody might be watching me every move. But can a student, if not anyone, really be sure anymore?

Tweet embedded from my@chrisfriden profile respectively.

On August 11, 2016, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australian University students were being monitored. The article stated that students all over the country were being watched.

The Universities failed to get the students consent and according to the Australian Privacy Foundation, what the universities were doing was illegal. August 12- one day after the article was published- the University of Melbourne released a statement, saying that the University had clearly articulated terms and conditions for using its Wi-Fi, that all users were required to accept before full access was provided. Part of the statement read: “The users of our system are required to identify themselves so we know they are entitled to use this service.”

That´s fair enough, and the statement did say that the University (of Melbourne, in this case) does not collect any information about online behaviours, such as monitoring of websites visited. It goes further on stating that neither does it focus on individual student behaviours or track the online activities of individual students. So I guess it´s OK then?

So is the universities monitoring OK?

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(By Hariadhi – CC BY 2.5)

In America, traditional campus-based institutions and online universities are implementing technological solutions for stopping cheaters.  Kirkpatrick (2015) writes that the students must agree to the terms and conditions of using the school’s software-based online learning platform in order to take courses, and as such, likely will agree to use this type of exam monitoring as a condition of receiving course credentials.

Maybe that is the way to go?

 

References

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/7-easy-ways-identity-theft,news-20396.html

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/what-is-vpn,news-18480.html

http://www.smh.com.au/national/university-students-you-are-being-watched-20160811-gqqet7.html

Kirkpatrick, K 2015, ‘Technology Brings Online Education in Line with Campus Programs’, Communications Of The ACM, 58, 12, pp. 17-19, retrieved  September 4 2016.

Bradbury, D 2011, ‘Hacking wifi the easy way’, Network Security, 2011, 2, pp. 9-12, retrieved September 4 2016.

 

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Surveillance for the Greater Good?

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(No worries, mate – CC BY 2.0)

“The less obvious you are, the safer you are.”- a lesson from security guru Bruce Schneier – on how to remain secure against the NSA.

But it´s not only the NSA you should fear…

Which leads us to the next question; Should we anonymise everything we do online?

Tweet embedded from my@chrisfriden profile respectively.

 

How would you feel, knowing that someone was watching your every online move?

Well, someone is…

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(They are watching us  – CC BY 2.0)

In our digital age, it´s quite common to be connected to all different sites by linking up with your Facebook account. It´s so much easier than the hassle of signing up with your name, email, phone number, address etc. It will save you a couple of minutes but, is it worth it?

 

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(Christina Stenseth 2016)

We are more than willingly letting both people and companies spy on us through our online activity. With all the apps, contests, games and sites we sign up for, not even God knows what kind of information we are giving away.

In the article “Surveillance Ethics” Macnish stresses that one of the main arguments against surveillance is that it poses a threat to privacy, which is of value to the individual and to society. This raises a number of questions about privacy, what it is and to what extent and why it is valuable.

People are aware of the consequences of oversharing, but some still don´t seem to care.

To be (on social media) or not to be- That is the question.

 

Podcast embedded from my Soundcloud respectively.

 

Social media addicts- and others- might say “If you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to fear”.

They might be on to something, because if we´re not actually doing anything illegal, then why should we have to go through these extra steps to secure our devices? That is a common thought. But remember- and never forget; it can be someone who´s simply after stealing your bank details or even worse; your full identity.

identity-theft

(Free ID this way –  CC BY 3.0)

Despite this Wallace (2003) writes that a surprisingly large number of Americans don’t want to be connected. This is people who have tasted what online life is like or live with the Internet literally in the next room.

As we can see, not everyone wants to share private stuff and put their information on the internet. In this case, I think having a hint of paranoia is a good quality.

Tweet embedded from my @chrisfriden profile respectively.

Though some of us refuse to get caught up in the trend, social networking has had a huge impact on how people communicate and interact with each other.

O’Donnell (2009) stresses that the problem with much of her research on social identity is that surveillance is either seen as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

But at the end; One of the biggest problems with social networks is the fact that people disconnecting from the real world.

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(We´re alone – Free images on Pixabay – CC BY 2.0)

 

References:

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/09/how_to_remain_s.html

“Surveillance Ethics,” by Kevin Macnish, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ISSN 2161-0002, http://www.iep.utm.edu/surv-eth/, retrieved September 3 2016.

O’Donnell, AT 2009, ‘Who is watching you, and why? : a social identity analysis of surveillance’, British Library EThOS, retrieved September 4 2016.

Wallace, N 2003, ‘Some Americans Remain Offline by Choice’, Chronicle Of Philanthropy, 14, Academic OneFile, retrieved September 5 2016.