When travelling, if one does not have a smartphone or blackberry, it becomes really annoying not to be able to use wi-fi knowing that lots of networks are available. the silliness of it all appeared when I was in Gare du Nord Paris, compared to St Pancras - London. You would have guessed I was a Eurostar traveller. At St Pancras, free wi-fi; in 45 minutes, I checked my e-mails, sent a couple of documents I could not have done so if I had a smartphone. At Gare du Nord, well, no free wi-fi if you do not have a Eurostar business status; the provider SFR was asking a minimum of 2 euros, I recall, for about 30 minutes. Well, I know it is not that expensive, but it is such a hassle (you have to register, type your card number...; a good 15 mins wasted to just access). Result: I did not pay. and I am sure I am not the only to have done so.
of course, one could argue that to call, one has to pay, whether in a phone box, from a landline or a mobile. Why not for wi-fi? well Finland contemplates opening the network to all, getting rid of its offence to use open wi-fi. Of course, open wi-fi means less security. But then, why not charged for higher security? I would actually have paid for added security if I had to send sensitive data or connect to sensitive data website. but for ordinary websites, such as what is the weather back home or train time data, frankly I felt put off.
Finland Plans To Decriminalize Using Open WiFi (TechDirt, 11 June 2010)
In contrast, Google's collection of private data is inadmissible. yet, whether it was intended to or an accident, an involuntary consequence not foreseen, is something else. I can't imagine the firm having done it on purpose, at least after until they were (made) aware of it if they continued despite knowledge.
Group Claims Google Had 'Criminal Intent' In WiFi Data Collection (TechDirt, 10 June 2010)
What i am surprised is that the data collected was not destroyed immediately. Governments have no right to look at the data.
Google WiFi Data Caught In Legal Limbo (TechDirt, 27 May 2010)
Wider European Scrutiny of Google on Privacy from NYTimes as reported in Business and HR Watch, 21 May 2010 http://www.business-humanrights.org/Links/Repository/1000957
Obviously, the argument is based on the assumption that privacy is important. Some argue it is not; but I fully disagree. Our ancestors fought, sometimes to death, for a bit of privacy and not just privacy from government's spying. Privacy is essential and it is not because people don't go into mass protest about it that the issue/the right does not matter
How Much Do Most People Really Care About Privacy? (TechDirt, 02 June 2010) -