Feeds

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

robots.txt for hotspots

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause
'Outernet' project proposes satellite-fuelled 'Lantern' WiFi library for remote areas
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.