Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

How to keep your wireless network out of Google's location database

Take your Wi-Fi network name out of the database

Article comments

Google now offers a way for anyone to get out and stay out of its Wi-Fi location database, the company announced.

Following last year's Wi-Fi snooping scandal, Google is looking to make amends by allowing anyone to opt out from having their wireless access point included in the Google Location Server.

To refresh your memory, Google collects basic Wi-Fi data from network routers including Service Set Identifier (SSID) information and Media Access Control addresses. This information is used to help the company improve the accuracy of some of its location-based products, such as Google Maps, by matching publicly broadcast information about local wireless networks with their approximate geographic location.

This method of location approximation can be more efficient than GPS, as it's faster and works indoors, as well as being more battery efficient.

However, Google landed in hot water last year when its Street View cars also mistakenly collected web browsing and communication data from Wi-Fi networks without password protection, which incurred the wrath of privacy regulators across the world. Google claims it has fixed the problem, and that it would destroy records of some 3.6 million Wi-Fi SSIDs it has collected.

Google says it has explored different approaches for opting-out access points from its Location Server and thinks it found a method that has "the right balance of simplicity as well as protection against abuse." The method involves modifying your wireless network name so that it ends with "_nomap". So for example, if your SSID is "My Network", you will need to change it to "My Network_nomap".

Once you've changed your network name, next time a user's device sends information about your Wi-Fi access point to the Location Server, Google will note the "_nomap" tag and remove the access point from its records. If you need more help with changing your Wi-Fi network name, Google has this useful help article.

The company believes this approach will help Wi-Fi networks owners to protect against others opting out of Google's Location Server without the owner's permission. Google also hopes other location providers will adopt the "_nomap" string universally in the future.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Sloop said: It should be opt in not opt out Therefore google should only include systems with SSID of Mynetworkmap

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *