There’s a great line in a recent episode of the cult comedy TV show, Silicon Valley, when a main character’s visit to a competitor discloses that he’s been there before because his phone automatically and instantly connects to the competitor’s office Wi-Fi. “Outed by Wi-Fi” is the accusation and while this is for comedy effect, it’s a useful reminder of how not only can technology can leave a trace in the usual social networks such as Facebook and Twitter but also by less obvious ways which don’t require a forensic examination of the equipment.
Why would one of your colleagues have the Wi-Fi code of one your competitors? It means they’ve been there before. Is that for a legitimate reason? Maybe they’re looking for a new job or maybe it’s something more nefarious like passing on secrets. Or maybe it is purely innocent – meeting up with an old college friend for lunch.
Protecting confidential information is a key concern for most businesses. This is usually done by contracts such as confidentiality agreement/ NDAs or express provisions in employment contracts or shareholders’ agreements which aim to prevent disclosure of secret information. There are also common law rules of confidence which can help protect confidential information.
So while this may have been a line for comedy effect, will we see the day where smartphones and computers are examined, not just to see what information is on them and what websites have been visited, but also to see if the owner is embarrassed by which Wi-Fi networks he or she has connected to.
But before he stoops low enough to steal artwork from a 5-year-old boy in an attempt to fake a museum visit, Dinesh has to explain to Richard why the Wi-Fi password for the office next door to End Frame is saved in Dinesh’s phone. Seems Dinesh has also been looking for work in all the wrong places.
‘Outed by Wi-Fi!’ says Gilfoyle shamefully. Before this episode is over, Dinesh won’t be the only one betrayed by an insatiable need to get on the internet by any means necessary. Karen, too, will be ‘outed by Wi-Fi,’ but in her case, it’s the Wi-Fi in Erlich’s incubator.