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Eye-Fi WiFi part 2 (update time)

By Dale Reagan | May 18, 2011

There have been several news articles covering privacy issues and automated data transfers from current smart phones – Eye-Fi WiFi (and similar) camera-ready-network-cards may have similar issues.  The Eye-Fi WiFi software solution is non-transparent – where and when data/images are being transferred outside of you local network it is not clear (well, at least based on my searching there is no clear documentation on how the product works at a detailed, technical leve..).   This may not be an issue/concern for many folks – I think that it is a serious risk

After reviewing what documentation I could find (the software that I have is less than intuitive and not well documented…) I thought that I had configured my Eye-Fi WiFi card to only send data to a machine on my local network.

My normal work-flow process for dealing with images:

Today I decided to use the Eye-Fi card and what do I find when I started the software?

AND…

Photos that were ‘erased’ from the Eye-Fi card (I used the camera ‘format’ option after confirming downloads via the reader to the PC) start ‘downloading’ but I have no clue where they are coming from.  I start hunting (including a review a network traffic) and I find that there is traffic to/from the Eye-Fi IP space…

I review the setup on the card:

I did some testing:

Given the recent noise/concern about privacy and user data with cell phones (Apple iPhone, Google Android Phones, Windows Mobile phones – were all collecting and in some cases transmitting user-location data for non-transparent purposes) as well as other postings about this type of concern for networking products you would think that Eye-Fi products would handle data ‘correctly’;  and of course, I will define’correctly’ as doing what I, the user think/want to do with my data – I just want to move photos from the camera to my local network.  I can implement my own ‘publishing’ process – I prefer to add meta-data, adjust/edit prior to sending images online – the current Eye-Fi software solution does not offer an opportunity to adjust such image data.

Also noted – I attempted to research the Open Source components of this solution – the links from the Eye-Fi web did not provide resources with that I felt were enlightening at all – at least one such link was to a ‘dead page’…  Transparency does not seem to be part of the current offering from Eye-Fi; even so, the product can meet a need to wireless transmission of image files – just be aware of the potential loss of privacy of possibly even abuse of your images…

So where did the mystery Eye-Fi images come from?  I will guess that I left the card configured in-camera to transmit AND that I left the Eye-Fi app running on my PC (on one or more occasions) and that partial transmission of image data did occur – the transfers did not complete (for some reason) until this particular day.  Worst case scenario (unconfirmed, but possible):

I will continue to test this product and as always, your mileage/view should vary.

Topics: Computer Technology, Reviews|Comments|Feedback, System and Network Security, Web Technologies | Comments Off on Eye-Fi WiFi part 2 (update time)

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