Does my college have access to my online activity I do using their wi-fi network?

Can my college see my online activity if I use their wifi network, (but I use my own computer to connect).

When I want to access the internet, I have to log into their wifi network (and my login is my first and last name). I usually use their internet to upload videos to YouTube. Since I am using their network, if they wanted to.. Would they be able to see what (and to what site) I upload content from their network?

For example, if I upload a video to YouTube, is that data stored somewhere, that some authorized college worker is able to see exactly what video I uploaded and when?

I asked a similar question here before, and someone replied as:

"They can access any information you do through their connection. This information you do is managed through a series of packets and if they want they can trace their ending location thus leading to your videos as in a example.

They shouldn't monitor you unless they notice that you are a heavy internet user."

And about that users response, I guess I am a heavy internet user on their network (I have uploaded almost 20 GB of videos in the past 2 weeks).. Would I be able to get in any type of trouble for this ? (The content I upload is nothing suspicious / illegal / or offensive to anyone), They're just typical videos appropriate for any viewers.

The college didn't specify anything about internet usage, so I am just a little worried if what I am doing is safe. (I still have a few long videos to upload, and I was planning to use their network again, because it is really fast).

Please help me, thanks!

4 Answers

  • rowlfe
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The simple answer is YES. They control the router you connect to. The router keeps a log of all sites you visit for a period of time. It does NOT store the data you transfer, only address information. When the log file gets full, it simply rolls over and overwrites the oldest entries. What they could have is a month or more of every site you visited. Depending on the router, what you DO may or may not be logged. Detail in the log file varies with the type of router and the router capabilities. A typical Cisco router at an ISP can hold months worth of data for every connection on the router and automatically archive the log file so it never has to lose old entries from a full log file. In essence, your browser history is available forever to the server admin. It is likely the school acts as it's own ISP. The other answer you got is mostly bogus. THAT "someone" person was obviously NEVER a network admin on a real network with their own servers and routers. YES, they CAN monitor packets and see exactly what you actually DO (That much IS correct), but that is SO labor intensive, most network admins will only do this for troubleshooting if they MUST to to solve a network problem. Or they COULD be ordered to spy on you by legal authorities for suspected copyright issues. But really, in a practical sense they simply do not have the time or resources to monitor your individual network traffic unless forced to do so for some reason. The log files are there to locate problems, not spy on people (though they COULD be used that way. The NSA is doing it in special cases with a subpoena. A typical ISP does NOT volunteer information as a rule). All in all, you probably have nothing to worry about, unless you are doing something illegal (like making available copyrighted material through file sharing such as uTorrent), which WILL get somebody's attention eventually. Indirectly, simply by counting packets, they can see how much data you upload or download. This is like keeping the envelope from every letter you send, but losing the pages from the letter unread. If you are a heavy user, it will show up in the server stats simply from how many packets you sent and received over time. If you are doing more than most other people, your usage will stand out in the stats over time. Servers monitor bandwidth usage stats. Which, of course, could cause your usage to be scrutinized more closely. Uploading or downloading large amounts of data compared to a typical user, is suspicious activity. You DO realize that the internet IS an open book to each and every server admin that handles traffic, yes? There is no way to BE anonymous completely. You can obscure things, but not hide things completely. You CAN be anonymous ONLY IF you become your own ISP, which is beyond the scope of this course.

    One last thing: who owns the copyrights on the videos you are working with? Somebody does! If that somebody isn't you, then you ARE doing something illegal. You can not distribute copyrighted material that is not your own original material or is licensed TO you for distribution from the copyright holder.

    Final thought: use hardwire instead of wireless if possible. Wireless is a party line and gets clogged from people like you with heavy traffic. The more traffic (users) the slower everyone goes. Hardwire does not have the traffic jams that wireless has. What suffers is throughput (amount of data over time). Connection speed is not affected. What happens is you end up with bursts of data instead of a continuous stream as you have to share the transmitter at the access point with other users. If there are 10 users, you get the access point for only 1/10th of the time as you share the access point with the other 9 people. Sharing means slower throughput.

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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    "row..." covers it pretty well.

    It should also be noted that they have amazingly poor log-in steps if all you need is first and last name.

    Anyone could use anybody else's identity, then if they decided to cause grief for a specific person, send out some trouble-laced packets and authorities could backtrack to the target victim, with no other real proof.

    (Spoofing MAC address to that of the known victim is a trivial matter, so there's no real defense against that.)

    I suggest you raise Cain about that to the dean.

    A more cloaked Network identification should be required, as well as WPA2-AES WiFi encryption (router-to-client) is necessary.

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  • 7 years ago

    I would think anything that you do would be tracked by the ISP not your college they wouldn't have the money or knowledge to do that IMO. I mean if so they would have to have a huge staff and tons of data storage for that which would not be smart in this day. I wouldn't be to concerned unless your surfing stuff that would alert the FBI or something stupid then the ISP would contact the school. So if ur surfing big boobie girls ur fine i would assume just dont go over board with it.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Backup computer?? i'm on internet wirelessly; all you need is a wireless pc/laptop, a wireless gateway configure the wireless G with the laptop/pc through an RJ45 then you're there!

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