Microsoft's WiFi database exposed by Stanford researcher
CNET previously reported on Microsoft's lack of privacy safeguards for their database at Live.com, which both Google and Skyhook Wireless now sport. A researcher at Stanford University, Elie Bursztein, has created a web page that allows one to look up MAC addresses for pin-point location results provided by Windows Phone 7 handsets and Microsoft's army of Wi-Fi recording vehicles as to where they last connected to this device address.
Is it really that much of a problem for the average web user? We have social networking with location-based services that display where the user is currently situated and people are connecting with the www more each year. I would, however, like to see a global opt-out option for Google, Microsoft and all other data collection services should I not wish for my location to be given out.
We're not quite sure if this works with device specific addresses or simply those that are acting as a wireless access point (routers, tethered phones, MiFi, etc.). Bursztein plans to discuss his findings with two other researchers at the Black Hat security conference, being held at Las Vegas next week. Have you attempted to search for your MAC addresses and are you concerned about this information being publicly viewable?