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.