What is geo-tracking revealing about you? (week in review)

Your Wi-Fi-enabled device may reveal your address on the Web. Hackers heat things up. Also: Pandora's IPO.

If your mobile device has Wi-Fi enabled, the device's previous location may be listed on the Web, CNET reported this week.

Google publishes the estimated location of millions of iPhones, laptops, and other devices with Wi-Fi connections, the latest twist in a series of revelations this year about wireless devices and privacy. Android phones with location services enabled regularly beam the unique hardware IDs of nearby Wi-Fi devices back to Google, a similar practice followed by Microsoft, Apple, and Skyhook Wireless as part of each company's effort to map the street addresses of access points and routers around the globe.

Only Google and Skyhook Wireless, however, make their location databases linking hardware IDs to street addresses publicly available on the Internet, which raises novel privacy concerns when the IDs they're tracking are mobile. If someone knows your hardware ID, he may be able to find a physical address that the companies associate with you--even if you never intended it to become public.
•  Geo-privacy bills aim to curb warrantless tracking
•  Senator renews pledge to update digital-privacy law

More headlines

<b>Google announces host of search improvements

Google unveils several search improvements to both its Web-based and mobile search services at the Inside Search event in San Francisco.
&#149;&nbsp; Google Voice Search offers natural user input
&#149;&nbsp; Google refreshes mobile search app

<b>Who is behind the hacks?

Several hacking groups have taken credit for recent attacks on Sony and others. Who are they and why are they doing it?
&#149;&nbsp; Anonymous takes down Spanish police site
&#149;&nbsp; CIA Web site down; LulzSec claims responsibility
&#149;&nbsp; Lulz hackers attack Senate site
&#149;&nbsp; Report: U.S. Senate site hacked again
&#149;&nbsp; LulzSec fields calls via hacking request line
&#149;&nbsp; Citigroup ups number of accounts breached in attack

<b>Pandora shares jump, then slump in initial trading

The Web music service gets off to a fast start on the stock exchange, with shares first surging above the IPO price of $16, followed by a midday nose dive.
&#149;&nbsp; Pandora IPO debacle: Shares plunge following debut
&#149;&nbsp; Pandora, a good service but poor investment

<b>Facebook shedding U.S. users as Brazil, Mexico gain

Overall growth rate drops below 20 million new users for two months in a row, pushed by loss of users from early-adopting countries, according to an Inside Facebook report.
&#149;&nbsp; Facebook planning IPO on $100 billion valuation?
&#149;&nbsp; Facebook prepping photo-sharing iPhone app?
&#149;&nbsp; Facebook going Spartan to take on Apple?

<b>Apple agrees to pay Nokia patent licensing fees

Agreement between the two settles a long-running dispute over wireless phone patents that was punctuated by a back-and-forth series of lawsuits.
&#149;&nbsp; Nokia likely to net $608M in Apple patent settlement
&#149;&nbsp; Apple sued over use of iCloud name
&#149;&nbsp; Apple sued over its use of 'iBook'

<b>Apple starts selling unlocked iPhone 4 for $649, $749

The device is available in 16GB and 32GB options and in the user's choice of black or white. It's GSM-only.
&#149;&nbsp; 5 reasons an unlocked iPhone is important
&#149;&nbsp; Apple patent hints at 'find my iPhone' enhancements
&#149;&nbsp; iPhone lock-screen password app pulled

<b>Bounty set for invalidating Lodsys patents

The group that's gone after a number of mobile app developers and big companies alike is now having its four patents targeted for invalidation by a crowdsourced research group.
&#149;&nbsp; Lodsys sued by antivirus software maker

<b>Chinese military warns of U.S. cyberwar threat

The official newspaper Liberation Army Daily says China must beef up its online defenses and create a "strong Internet army," lest the U.S. seize the high ground.
&#149;&nbsp; Clarke: U.S. lags in 'guerrilla cyberwar' with China
&#149;&nbsp; Three jailed over iPad 2 leaks in China

Also of note
&#149;&nbsp; Study: DVR, set-top box use most energy at home
&#149;&nbsp; Twitter gaffe sinks Congressman Weiner
&#149;&nbsp; Steve Jobs comic book 'biography' on the way

 

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