Feeds

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

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 …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Bronze badge
FAIL

tell them to naff off

it should be a _mapme or _yesmap extension, not a _nomap one...

27
15
Bronze badge

"tell them" -- in other words, you're going to do f*ck all.

This says Google bet right --- what little resistance there is is some powerless posturing. You leave fake surprise they come to this proposal? In what galaxy would they propose an opt-in policy without substantial outside pressure, as it would defeat the entire purpose (namely to use the ubiquity of signals to improve accuracy)?

If you worked there and proposed that you'd be fired for obvious stupidity, probably kindly phrased as naivity (kindly, because they're Not Evil).

3
7
Anonymous Coward

Your house number?

Do you routinely cover up your house name and number (or anonymise your house) so that people passing looking for an address can't locate themselves?

It would also have the advantage of stopping those pesky new postmen/women from being able to trace you easier.

Google screwed up slurping up fragments of data when they drove around so rant about that for sure but getting your knickers in a twist over your publicly displayed WiFi details being used by every phone manufacturer (and others, such as skyhook) to assist in location tracking is just a bit too paranoid.

Are all the other companies going to respect this map tag, or have even offered some kind of opt out? Can you imagine what "Steve's" response would've been?

20
13
Facepalm

You might

If someone were running around the world and making your house address mapped to your IP publicly available information...

12
9

And why is that?

The whole concept is to make mapping data for you easier. Sure there is a ton of other data which can be extrapolated but at the end of the day does the fact that they have acquired your locational information matter at all?

Opting out is a great alternative and is one which can be automated via a name change. If you're that paranoid then append the _nomap to your SSID and go nuts. For me I'd rather have a service that functions seamlessly and remain financially free to use and have a minimal cost of usage data.

2
9
Anonymous Coward

I already have that...

As my IP space is SWIP'd to me, my address is already tied to my IP space. Hasn't been a cause of alarm yet!

0
2
Anonymous Coward

@Rob Dobs

Where is this magical IP address database then? Or were you just using a broad "if" that doesn't actually relate to the point at hand?

If so, then maybe go one step further "you might if they were running around the world killing everyone who lived at an even numbered house"... yes I would!

2
4
FAIL

I think that's called the white pages!!! Also an optional opt-out in many EU countries.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Happy

Re: Your house number

> Do you routinely cover up your house name and number

But looks like you had the need to post as anon cow ?

1
0

opt in here

Here its an opt-in as the crooked phone company usually charges you for this "service"

Also White pages lists names and addresses, not IP big difference.

0
0
Facepalm

At every site you visit and you ISP

Every web site you visit has your IP, with addresses mapped to them it would be easy to build mailing lists and databases of the real people who visited. Your ISP, Google, and a few others can pretty much track ANY site you visit.

Its not very magical, and you seem ignorant of this, except I notice you post as an anonymous coward...

And as far as killing, yeah maybe in an extreme case, number and logging, then rounding up and then killing....gee that never happened before, oh wait it did and there still people alive who were there.

Besides I wasn't jumping to such extreme hyperbole, just pointing out that people may not display their house numbers so boldly if it linked them to sites that give away their political interests, religions etc. You can always take a rational comment, take it one step further and make it stupid.

0
0
WTF?

Or just hide the SSID

If you don't broadcast it, it won't show up.

6
6
Linux

SSID Mac

It's not based off the SSID (as this can be hidden) but the hardware MAC (the BSSID) that is related to the AP. The BSSID is always broadcasted.

Hardware MAC's are "unique" where SSID's are not.

4
2
Silver badge

SSID Mac...

In theory SSIDs are unique, but I get the impression someone in Canada had changed theirs to the same as mine. For a few months Google maps on my phone would locate me somewhere over there when it couldn't get an GPS fix (in my house for example).

It hasn't happened for a while now, so if it was a clone, he's changed routers and mashed in another random collection of hex digits.

1
4
Gold badge
WTF?

If it is using the hardware MAC as you say rather than the SSID (broadcast or not), would you mind awfully explaining how to append "_nomap" to that?

9
0

Then

your kindle wont see it ( and perhaps other devices also)

0
0
Silver badge

@Steve

SSIDs are names, BSSIDs is the router's Mac address which is more difficult to change but it can be done. Here's an example if your router runs DD-WRT...

http://www.pennock.nl/dd-wrt/Multiple_BSSIDs.html

(I didn't downvote you, I thought an explanation would be nicer and more useful.)

2
1
Silver badge

@Dan 55

Hi Dan, yes sorry, I did mean the MAC/BSSID, not the user configurable SSID.

Thanks for the link though ;-)

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Personally...

...I have a script running to automatically randomise my router's MAC every week just to f*ck with them.

1
0
Silver badge

Please do share and mention what router firmware you're running

That is all.

0
0

RE: Or just hide the SSID

>> If you don't broadcast it, it won't show up.

Wrong, so very wrong !

If you turn off SSID broadcasts, you can actually increase the number of packets transmitted with the SSID in them. You also increase the workload on both your access point and attached devices as attached devices will keep actively looking for other bases with the same SSID rather than passively looking for broadcasts.

In short, "hiding" your SSID just doesn't, and it increases the amount of control traffic required to make the system work.

But I agree with the others, this is just typical Google - "we're going to do it, and as a breadcrumb tossed to refusenics we'll allow you to ask us to remove it if you actually find out there's a away to ask". In my case, I can confidently predict that if I changed my SSID as suggested then it would ... have absolutely no effect whatsoever for a good many years. Google streetmap cars have only been round here once, and I doubt if they'll come by again any time soon.

One fairly useful strategy would be to use a system where the MAC address can be changed, and script something to change it very frequently and randomly. Once you change the MAC address, then the data they have becomes useless. Not to mention, it increases their storage requirements keeping track of all the random base stations that do get reported by automated snitches.

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Not everyone wants to share

but I bet they are happy to take the wifi assisted location services that use it.

There is so much misinformation and sensationalism about what Google (and Microsoft) collect in their drivebys, sites like this are responsible for alot of the ignorance around it.

17
4
Silver badge

My fandroid brother-in-law happy to take wi-fi assisted location services

I'm not. I can manage with cell tower assisted location which is between me and my network. But every time he comes round my house Google get a little bit more data confirming that yes, my router is still there.

Now I'm supposed to have to change my SSID to opt out of Google's spy vehicles (Android phones). However they're unlikely to do this at the client end as Android phones are updated once in a blue moon. That data goes to Google anyway and at Google's end is probably marked with a little flag saying 'don't use me for wi-fi assisted location for Android phones' but they've still got that data for other Googly purposes (e.g. linking BSSIDs to the ISP's address if the Android phone ever connects through that router so when you search in Google now you have a disturbingly accurate geo-IP location on the left hand side of the screen).

This news is going to reach about 0.0000001% of anyone with a router. Google takes the data they want, offers a half-hearted opt out years later, and wins again.

See the problem?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

F***ing mad

They should be running an "opt in" policy with a suitable tag instead.

Google apparently now think that they own the world by default; the classic paranoid meglamaniac. They'll take over the world, as long as it doesn't mind.

20
13
Facepalm

how about opting in with a suffix '_yesmap' instead.

9
9
Anonymous Coward

How about you stop broadcasting into the public property where Google can "hear" you.

6
4

It would be better to be opt IN

And let up rename our routers if we *want* to be included... But of course they know that way they'll get damn all data to mine.

8
9
Facepalm

Just to be clear

Do you think StreetView should be opt-in too?

What about Atlases - should only towns or countries where a referendum has concluded that they want to be put on the map, be drawn in?

8
4

Like...

Phorn you mean.

0
0
Trollface

Can anyone query the db

If anyone can query it, i'd be interested to see where it thinks such things as "netgear" and "dlink" are located, you know, for lols?

0
3

It only uses the SSID to check for the tag....

To determine if it CAN proceed and map the BSID associated (which is unique?)

4
0
Silver badge

Not name...

It stores the MAC address, which ought to be unique if people haven't been fiddling with them.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Easy enough to do....

...just see what MAC allocations DLink et al use and look for that MAC range...

http://standards.ieee.org/develop/regauth/oui/oui.txt

0
0
Happy

Goggles?

how about they resort to asking the user to wave the camera around until google goggles can spot a landmark it recognises?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Lets have a mass renaming

I f enough people arbitrarily swapped router names, wouldn't that create just a little confusion?

If I was near -say- three routers with specifc names, which had actually existed in different parts of the country when Google drove past, would that neatly screw up the value of thiose ID's?

5
7

you'd have to arrange a mass swap of routers to shift the macs around but I like the idea :)

2
0
Bronze badge

"...a mass swap of routers to shift the macs..."

Some routers allow you to change the MAC addresses at will, depending on what software is running on the router e.g. DD-WRT

3
0

Am I the only one who doesn't mind?

The SSID is something I broadcast volutarily. I can't do much about the BSSID anyway. It doesn't actually identify my house or anything, and authentication is required to get onto my LAN.

Why do people want to deliberately sabotage what is actually quite a useful thing (aiding GPS for location) by making it harder? Sounds a bit like complaining that Google know where your house is based on your postcode.

Yes I expect to get downvoted.

46
6
Megaphone

Absolutely. If you're broadcasting information you can't complain if someone writes it down. There is no expectation of privacy with your wifi name. Some people set them to stupid names just to entertain the neighbours.

1
0

I admit it...

"Some people set them to stupid names just to entertain the neighbours."

0
0

Guilty

Some people set them to stupid names just to entertain the neighbours.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Similar Suggestion.

A similarity to this would be requiring google employees to change their name to "nopunch" if they do not want to be punched down on sight.

About as idiotic as their "opt out" regime.

When are those spamvertisement companies going to learn "opt in" again?

22
9
Anonymous Coward

The new Google uniform

t-shirts emblazened with 'notazememan'

0
1
Boffin

how about...

...adding the suffix "_myob" instead?

3
0
Gold badge
Happy

"_FOAD" gets my vote.

2
0
Silver badge
Happy

To take a leaf out of XKCD, suffix with something like...

') drop table SSID;

5
0
Thumb Up

FOAD happens to be my AP SSID.

0
0
Boffin

Calculations get easier?

Does knowing where you are really make the GPS calculations easier, or is that an El Reg invention? It doesn't seem all that likely, given the way GPS works (triangulation in 3D based on 4 sources at known location and known relative distance). Is there some iterative improvement going on in a GPS which would mean a good initial estimate helps?

It seems more likely that you just don't need GPS at all if the WiFi can tell you where you are to 100m and you're only looking for local restaurant reviews.

0
4
Anonymous Coward

You can get a "Warm Start" instead of a "Cold Start"

If the GPS has knowledge of which satellites are in view then it can connect to them quicker, and the satellites in view can be calculated from a rough position along with the time.

7
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.