Tuesday, March 20, 2007

AOL Makes Instant Messaging a Little Less Safe

Last Sunday, AOL announced it's new "Near Me" service, which lets users of it's internet messaging program view the location of a person on their friends list. The software tracks locations by "using the continuous wireless pulses emitted by all Wi-Fi transmitters and Wi-Fi-enabled computers." The program also displays the location of the person on a map.

To accomplish this, Skyhook, the company behind the software enlisted a fleet of 200 trucks to drive through over 2,500 cities and mapped every home wireless network and commercial access point.

The result? According to Skyhook, a database consisting of 16 million Wi-Fi access points, covering 70% of the population of the U.S. and parts of Canada.

Thanks AOL for taking away my privacy and making life a little easier for Wi-Fi hackers.