Mathias Nitzsche had a nifty idea: using Wi-Fi network names to create a connection between the network's owner and those who spot it in their wireless networks list. His aptly named wifis.org site lets you pick a handle and advertise it through your network name, as in wifis.org/glennocschmidt. This creates an account for you on the site, and makes a Web form available at that address that sends email to your Google or Facebook email, whichever you used to create the registration. The visitor never sees your email address. (Nitzsche avoids having his own registration database, which removes some overhead and security risk associated with retaining passwords.)
I contacted Mathias to ask about privacy and security issues, as one might be concerned about email addresses being stored and the association of a Wi-Fi network name with such. He said (and his FAQ notes) that he doesn't reveal information to third parties. While he's based in Germany, his data and application is hosted in the Google App Engine in the United States.
I'd love to see a variant on this idea, in which an existing network name could be paired with a unique few letter long code that someone would then append to their network. Look up the code, and you'd get the same result. I admit Nitzsche's idea is neater, encoding the URL and the identifier all at once.
This is probably a good time to also mention WTFWiFi.com, the site that is to network names what Damn You, Auto Correct! is to rewritten text messages.
When wifi first appeared, it was secured by something called "WEP" that was so laughably weak that many people believe it was deliberately sabotaged by US spy agencies (who have a history of sabotaging security standards in order to preserve the ability to spy on their adversaries).
40% of Detroiters have no internet access. The Detroit Community Technology Project and similar projects across the city are skipping over the telcos altogether and wiring up their own mesh broadband networks, where gigabit connections are transmitted by line-of-site wireless across neighborhoods from the tops of tall buildings; it's called the Equitable Internet Initiative.
US CERT has privately circulated an advisory warning key stakeholders about the imminent publication of Key Reinstallation Attacks (KRACK), which exploit a heretofore unknown flaw in the WPA2 wifi security protocol, allowing attackers to break the encryption and eavesdrop upon — and possibly inject packets into — wireless sessions previously believed to be secure.
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