Promote Free Open Mesh Networking

Suggestions for WiGLE/JiGLE/DiGLE

2 posts • Page 1 of 1

Postby ithink314 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:30 am

Hindsight is 20/20, or One Reason Why I Won't Wigle No More

From the Wigle FAQ,

"Educating the Public: When WiGLE started in 2001 the default for wifi was to have no encryption at all. An end user had a choice to turn on weak encryption (40-bit WEP), or pay extra for slightly less weak encryption (128-bit WEP). Most users didn't realize that their private networks could be accessed by anyone in the area (at various distances with antennas and amplifiers). WiGLE, and Wardriving in general, helped to educate users and put pressure on manufacturers to make network security better and easier. Now a days WPA2 is the standard and defaults to "on" for most manufactured devices."

Fear made us encrypt our wifi. Fear of bad people doing bad things on our wifi. Or maybe it was being control freaks; we wanted control of our wifi.

Fast forward 18 years, and what do we have now, as we drive around with our hand-held phone-computers? Cell towers we pay phone companies to access the internet through, on one side, and here and there open wifi we can access, where the wifi owner is paying an ISP to access the internet through.

Remember when almost anyone, or at least universities and some people, could connect to the internet for the cost of some cable and hardware? Yeah, they made it a lot more expensive.

Imagine if instead, Roofnet mesh networks had spread with our wifi. Maybe our internet and cell phone service would be almost free now, wherever we drove.

But nope, fear and greed went along with getting us to pay more, coming and going. Cisco bought Roofnet, and who is promoting the idea we could open up our wifi and take back the internet? Wigle??

That's something I could get behind. For now, I'll just use Dejavu and keep my wifi and cell tower geo-locating to myself, locked up, safe, secure, like Wigle promoted. :( ... h-network/ ... eless-lan/ ... etworking/
Keeping the WiFi networks you observe to yourself is absolutely your right.

While seeing internet as a public good or even a right is a very forward-thinking idea (and in fact, WiGLE has helped promote open mesh and broadband initiatives in various places), it's also important to note that in some countries now, running a WiFi hotspot without access control (and a stronger cipher suite) is actually being criminalized because it dilutes the notion of assignment of personal responsibility and accountability in internet behavior.

Speaking for myself, to the extent that a world where access to the internet is democratized is very appealing, I applaud your decision. I do hope in that world, people will still employ good host security and end-to-end session-based encryption to protect themselves - those are important measures to protect privacy as well as security. If those technologies were pervasive and foolproof, maybe there's an ideal case where network-level encryption doesn't matter, but in the current internet and with current computer security, there's a fair argument to be made that turning on connection security is hygiene, not paranoia. I'd prefer a world where I didn't need to wash my hands after riding the bus, but in this in this one, I do and I would urge everyone to do so too.

I guess I don't see taking precautions to protect my privacy and the integrity of host security as analogous to a closed internet. I encourage you to continue to raise awareness regarding community broadband - I think it's a great idea. I would still suggest you authenticate and secure the nodes in the network and individual hosts to prevent abuse and fraud, since most users won't attain your level of sophistication regarding networks.

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