MIT Wireless Network Tracks Info on Users

Another new kind of WiFi usage has been introduced at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Article in Seattle Post-Intelligencer says:

MIT’s newly upgraded wireless network – extended this month to cover the entire school – doesn’t merely get you online in study halls, stairwells or any other spot on the 9.4 million square foot campus. It also provides information on exactly how many people are logged on at any given location at any given time.

It even reveals a user’s identity if the individual has opted to make that data public.

MIT researchers did this by developing electronic maps that track across campus, day and night, the devices people use to connect to the network, whether they’re laptops, wireless PDAs or even Wi-Fi equipped cell phones.

The maps were unveiled this week at the MIT Museum, where they are projected onto large Plexiglas rectangles that hang from the ceiling. They are also available online to network users, the data time-stamped and saved for up to 12 hours.

Technology gives good possibilities, but privacy is a serious concern in this case.

Read full article here.

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