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Wi-Fi Networks Shouldn't Become Spy Networks

Wi-Fi Networks Shouldn't Become Spy Networks
Photograph by Gabe Palmer/Getty Images

Controversy has broken out in Seattle over whether the city’s police department is using its Wi-Fi network to spy on anyone with a smartphone. According to Seattle TV station KIRO, the SPD’s emergency services Wi-Fi network has the ability to identify any Wi-Fi device emitting a signal within range of one of its 160 wireless access points and record its location.

In reality, any Wi-Fi network can do this. I advocate consumer privacy as much as the next person, but in the world of wireless networking, complete anonymity is a luxury we don’t have.