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


(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.


(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?


(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?






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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