Google knows nearly every WiFi password in the world, according to a new report published Thursday in a prominent tech website.
Computerworld’s Michael Horowitz explained in his “Defensive Computing” blog that if you, or even a friend, have logged on your WiFi network with an Android device, chances are Google has your secret password stored in their servers.
“If an Android device (phone or tablet) has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network, then Google probably knows the Wi-Fi password,” wrote Horowitz. “Considering how many Android devices there are, it is likely that Google can access most Wi-Fi passwords worldwide.”
“Many (probably most) of these Android phones and tablets are phoning home to Google, backing up Wi-Fi passwords along with other assorted settings,” he added. “And, although they have never said so directly, it is obvious that Google can read the passwords.”
The revelations come as tech companies face backlash from consumers for sharing sensitive data with government agencies.
According to a report published last week, the National Security Agency (NSA) can access user data on all major smartphones — including Androids.
The Daily Dot, a publication with brands itself as the “Internet’s community newspaper,” echoed privacy concerns in a Friday post.
“These revelations are troubling for privacy advocates who fear all this information is ripe for government cherry picking if any U.S. intelligence agency were to compel Google to give up information on one of its users,” wrote The Daily Dot’s Tim Sampson. “As Micah Lee of the Electronic Frontier Foundation blogged, its reasonable to expect that these passwords are not secure in Google’s servers, readable by anyone.”
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter