Sign up to our newsletter
Politicians, journalists, and security experts were left red-faced after connecting to an open Wi-Fi network set up by a member of The Swedish Pirate Party to protest mass digital surveillance.
Gustav Nipe, who is president of the Swedish Pirate Party’s youth wing, set up a Wi-Fi network called ‘Open Guest’ and was able to track the sites visited by around 100 conference delegates, reports Ars Technica.
Delegates used the conference to search for non-work related topics such as ‘forest hikes’ and to check up on their eBay auctions, reveals Business Insider.
“The security establishment was in Sälen pushing for more surveillance, but then leading figures go and log on to an unsecure Wi-Fi network,” Nipe explained to English language newspaper The Local.
“It is very embarrassing because the data we collected showed that some people were looking at Skype, eBay and Blocket [a Swedish classifieds site] and stuff like that, or looking for holidays and where you could go and hike the forest. This was during the day when I suppose they were being paid to be at the conference working.”
While Nipe says he will not be ‘naming and shaming’ delegates by revealing which experts visited which websites, he stated that his benign stunt could have had far deeper consequences, were his motives beyond protest: “The scary part is that with unsecure networks like these you can end up getting access even to secure servers because people so often use the same passwords for different sites. So we could have got into the government’s server or used other information to track people in their everyday lives.”
Nipe explained that all the data collected will be stored in an encrypted form, and deleted shortly.
Author Alan Martin, ESET