You Can Now 'Opt Out' Your Wireless Access Point in Google Location Server

Google introduced a new method that lets you opt out of having your "wireless access point" included in the Google Location Server, announced Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel."To opt out, visit your access point's settings and change the wireless network name (or SSID) so that it ends with "_nomap." For example, if your SSID is […]

Wireless Access PointGoogle introduced a new method that lets you opt out of having your "wireless access point" included in the Google Location Server, announced Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel.

"To opt out, visit your access point's settings and change the wireless network name (or SSID) so that it ends with "_nomap." For example, if your SSID is "Network," you'd need to change it to "Network_nomap"," informs Fleische.

"The wireless access point information we use in our location database, the Google Location Server, doesn't identify people. But as first mentioned in September, we can do more to address privacy concerns."

"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," said Fleischer.

"Finally, because other location providers will also be able to observe these opt-outs, we hope that over time the "_nomap" string will be adopted universally. This would help benefit all users by providing everyone with a unified opt-out process regardless of location provider."

To opt out

If you connect to WiFi networks regularly, you'll notice that every network has a name. Typically, you'll see names like "hhonors", "t-mobile", or "Belkin54g". Each of those names, which can be up to 32 characters long, is an SSID.

You can opt out by changing the SSID of your WiFi access point (your wireless network name) so that it ends with "_nomap". For example, if your SSID is "12345," you would need to change it to "12345_nomap".

You can click on the link below that corresponds to the manufacturer of your access point, to find specific instructions on changing your access point's SSID. If you received your access point from your ISP, you may wish to contact them to find out how to change the SSID.

For example, on many access points, you can access the control panel through which you can change its SSID using the following steps:

  1. Establish a physical connection between your access point and your computer using an ethernet cable.
  2. Establish the default gateway of your connection:
    1. On Windows, type 'ipconfig' into the command prompt (accessed from the start menu).
    2. On Mac OS, type 'ifconfig' into the command prompt.
    3. On Linux, type 'ifconfig' into the command prompt.
  3. Once you have the default gateway (it will look like 192.168.0.1), type it into the address bar of your web browser, this will take you to the control panel for your access point.
  4. You may have to sign in to your access point's control panel. If so, the appropriate username and password should have been included in the booklet included when you received the access point.

To learn more about the process and to find links with specific instructions on how to change an access point's SSID for various wireless access point manufacturers, visit this Help Center article.