Nov 152011
 November 15, 2011  Posted by  Business, Online, Surveillance

Aayush Arya writes:

Google has announced a way for owners of wireless networks to opt out of being indexed by its location database by appending “_nomap” to their network’s name (SSID), according to a post on the Official Google Blog.


The only thing is that the solution itself is rather weird. As more people find out about this method, you’ll soon start seeing the “_nomap” tag pop up on Wi-Fi network names everywhere, and that to us seems like a strange outcome. Not to mention all the people who simply won’t ever find out about this new policy and wouldn’t be able to opt out of being indexed.

People shouldn’t have to explicitly state in their network’s name that they do not want to be indexed, just like you don’t have to stick a sign on your windows to let people know that it is not OK to jump in unannounced. Perhaps it would have made more sense as an opt-in solution instead, where people who wanted their networks to be indexed could have appended “_map” to their SSIDs to give Google the green signal.

Read more on The Next Web.   Jon Mitchell of ReadWriteWeb also has some unflattering comments to make:

If you want to opt out, Google says, you have to figure out how to add “_nomap” to the end of your SSID name. Can’t figure out how to do that? Oh well. Google, and I quote, “found that a method based on wireless network names provides the right balance of simplicity as well as protection against abuse. Specifically, this approach helps protect against others opting out your access point without your permission.” You hear that? Google wants to protect you from someone turning off your location sharing without your permission. It’s for your protection, citizens.

  3 Responses to “Google now allows you to opt out of Wi-Fi location database, but it’s not pretty”

  1. This is still BS. I shouldn’t have to go out of my way to keep Google from logging my info. what if I don’t want “_nomap” added to my network name?

  2. Could somebody please explain to me (convincingly, not just “They’re out to get me”)why Google having your WiFi’s SSID (Just SSID, not Data) and it’s Location is a Privacy issue. To me it just seems like people kicking up a big fuss over nothing, and I really haven’t heard any convincing arguments. It’s an SSID, not your life (got any idea how much your ISP logs in comparison?).

  3. Can someone tell me convincingly why Google has the right to gather and publish for their own purposes without prior consent personally identifiable information which in the vast majority of cases is intended for use only inside the home.

    It’s always easy to pick a single piece of information about someone and minimize its importance. Especially if you can convince people that that single piece of information is the only piece being gathered.

    I know I’m not convincing the privacy disparagers of the world, but I don’t have to. Privacy means that I decide what I want the world to see of me, not Google. When Third parties like Google decide, privacy is lost. My ISP may log all kinds of information about me, but they don’t publish it to the entire world.

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