Google Announces “_nomap” WiFi Opt-out Option, Wants Other Location Providers To Go Along

wifi-router-x As promised, Google has announced a way for WiFi router owners to stop Google from including them in the company’s location database.

The opt-out requires a change in the name of the wireless network (the SSID) to include _nomap at the end of the name. In other words, if your wireless network is named “McGeehome,” you’d need to rename that to “McGeehome_nomap.” (And frankly, I’d prefer you use your own last name while you’re at it.)

Google says this method “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.” The company is also encouraging other location providers to adopt and respect the _nomap signal in the future.

In its help pages, Google says its system will pick up the new SSID name and process the opt-out the next time your router sends location information to Google’s servers through a reliable channel.

Google’s been in trouble around the world since admitting that its Street View vehicles collected personal information through unencrypted WiFi networks. Google has repeatedly said the data collection was an accident.

This _nomap opt-out method was something that several data protection agencies in Europe requested Google provide to safeguard against similar problems in the future. Google promised an opt-out method in September.

(Stock image via Shutterstock. Used with permission.)

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Privacy | Google: Street View | Legal: Privacy


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Chris Silver Smith

    For residential addresses, this should be opt-in NOT opt-out!

  • Kristian Gustafsson

    Why assume that people wish to share their wifi location with Google?

    How about Google ask people who wish to ‘opt in’ to change their SSID instead of the other way around?

  • pvsantos

    BS. My home wifi is wide open (my PCs are firewall protected themselves as they also use public hotspots). If I don’t want anyone to map my wifi or connect to it then it is my responsibility to encrypt and protect it. Don’t blame Google for it. Anyone can do what Google did and you don’t even know it. Criminals cheaply drive around and collect the same data. They don’t need Google.

    It’s like cameras in public places and people complaining about privacy. If we’re broadcasting or in a public place it is silly to expect privacy. Assume that when you step out of your house door there is always some camera somewhere capturing images. It can light pole cameras or anyone with a camera phone.

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