Google kartographiert WLAN Netze

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Apr
22

Heute ist bekannt geworden, dass in den Fahrzeugen von Google zur Erfassung von Daten für Google Street View nicht nur Kameras und das hierfür notwendige Equipment verbaut sind. Gleichzeitig mit den Bildern werden von den Fahrzeugen auch Informationen über WLAN Netze erfasst.

Zu den erfassten Daten pro WLAN gehören die Position, die MAC Adresse des AccessPoints, die SSID und der Status der Verschlüsselung. Ähnliche Informationen werden bereits seit Jahren von Unternehmen und Forschungsanstalten in ganz Deutschland erfasst.

Was kann man mit den Daten anfangen?

Viele Dienste nutzen diese Information um auch mit Handys ohne integriertem GPS die aktuelle Position zu ermitteln. Die Geräte ermitteln hierzu die WLAN-Netze (mit den oben angegebenen Daten) in Ihrer Umgebung. Aus der Stärke der Signale und der Information, wo sich diese Netze befinden, kann dann der aktuelle Standort berechnet werden. Selbst Google gehört zu den Diensten, die auf Datenbanken mit erfassten WLAN Netzen zurückgreifen.

Es ist verständlich, dass Google zusammen mit der Erfassung der Bilder für Google Street View auch noch weitere Informationen sammelt. Die Autos sind sowieso unterwegs und somit ist die Erfassung von weiteren Informationen betriebswirtschaftlich gesehen nur vernünftig.

Handelt es sich um personenbezogene Daten?

Der Datenschützer von Hamburg Johannes Caspar und der Bundesdatenschützer Peter Schaar kritisieren Google für die Erfassung der WLAN Netze. Laut ihrer Aussage handele es sich bei den erfassten Informationen um personenbezogene Daten.

Aber ist das wirklich so? Sind technische Informationen eines WLAN AccessPoints personenbezogene Daten?

Wie kann ich aus diesen Daten auf eine konkrete Person schließen? Ich weiß wo das WLAN steht. Welche Personen dieses Netz nutzen, kann ich aber nicht so ohne weiteres herausfinden.

Weiterhin handelt es sich bei einem AccessPoint nicht um ein Gerät, dass von einem Benutzer "direkt" benutzt wird. Vielmehr gehört der AccessPoint für mich zur Infrastruktur genauso wie ein Switch und ein DSL-Router. Somit ist ein AccessPoint für mich nicht direkt einer Person zugeordnet.

Das in vielen Installation die SSIDs mit dem Familiennamen übereinstimmt ist eher ein Problem der Konfiguration. Die neueren Netze werden wohl eher die vom Gerätehersteller vergebene (kryptische) SSID beibehalten haben. Aber selbst wenn es sich um den Familiennamen handeln sollte, kann ich das immer noch nicht auf eine konkrete Person festmachen.

Google Bashing

Ich bin vorsichtig bei der Nutzung von Diensten von Google und bei der Weitergabe meiner persönlichen Informationen an Google im speziellen und an Dienste im Internet im allgemeinen. Sicherlich hat Google inzwischen umfangreiche Möglichkeiten Informationen, die für sich allein betrachtet harmlos sind, mit anderen zu verknüpfen und dadurch weitere Informationen zu erzeugen. Aber diese Meinung der beiden angesehenen Datenschützer zur Aktion von Google WLAN Netze zu kartographieren hat für mich einen faden Beigeschmack des aktuell gerne betriebenen Google Bashings.

Warten wir ab, was die nächsten Tage als Ergebnis der sicherlich stattfindenen Diskussion ergeben.

Ergänzung vom 23.04.2010

Ganz alleine bin ich mit meiner Meinung nicht. In einem Artikel von SPIEGEL online geht man auch kritischer mit der Meinung der beiden Datenschützer und dem damit verbundenen Medien-Echo um.