Google moves to give Wi-Fi users way to opt out of location database

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is attempting to make good on its promise to give users a way to opt out of having their Wi-Fi routers included in the search giant's location database software.

Even though Google said it it doesn't identify actual people with the Wi-Fi access point information in its location database, the European Commission concluded last May that the unauthorized use of data from Wi-Fi-enabled devices violated European law that prohibits the commercial use of private data without an owner's consent. Subsequently, Google said it would offer a way for users to opt out of its location services.

Specifically, users can navigate to their router's setting and change the wireless network name to end in "_nomap."

"As we explored different approaches for opting-out access points from the Google Location Server, we 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," explained Google Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer in a company blog post.

Last May, Google admitted that its Street View cars had collected information from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. The company later admitted that this information included entire email addresses, web site addresses and passwords.

For more:
- see this eWeek article

Related articles:
Unsecured Wi-Fi routers becoming legal problem
FCC studying whether Google violated Communications Act with WiFi collection practices
Google's Street View cars done for good
Judge orders Google to hand over private WiFi data
Google continues to feel fallout from collecting WiFi payload data
Google admits to collecting WiFi payload data by mistake
Google promises tight Maps integration on Android

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