Feeds

Google will ignore your Wi-Fi router ... if you rename it

robots.txt for hotspots

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Google has magnanimously offered to ignore Wi-Fi hotspots that have been renamed with a trailing "_nomap" to let the snoops know what you don't want them to know.

Google logs the location of Wi-Fi routers to aid its location pinpointing services, as knowing the nearest router can provide a coarse location as well as making it easier to get a GPS fix, but even Google accepts that not everyone wants to share.

In the explanatory blog posting, the Chocolate Factory's "Global Privacy Council" explains that Google considered providing an online tool allowing people to opt out, but rejected that idea as it couldn't prevent malicious individuals from forcibly opting out those who didn't want to opt out. We read that to mean Google couldn't prevent hackers opting everyone out automatically, but either way Google has decided name changes are what's needed.

Google's Streetview camera-cars logged the location of every Wi-Fi hotspot they passed, occasionally (and accidentally) grabbing a chunk of data too. Those records remain intact, but are constantly updated when someone uses Google Maps and takes the time to get a GPS fix.

Android phones regularly send back updates to the Googleplex, keeping the locations of every Wi-Fi router (with a publically broadcast SSID) constantly updated and making it easier for everyone else to work out where they are.

GPS works well, but has a hard time getting a signal indoors as well as taking a while to get a fix. If you know roughly where you are then the GPS calculations get a lot easier, so an Android handset first scans for local Wi-Fi routers and asks Google for a rough location based on those (and the cellular base stations, which are kept updated the same way). That rough location is then used to simplify the GPS calculations.

Unless of course the local Wi-Fi router is tagged "_nomap", in which case Google promises to ignore the information. Local users of Google Maps will just have to step outside and learn to be patient. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – A jolly little war for lunchtime
Free-to-play WoW turn-based game when you have 20 minutes to kill
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.