I'm getting a bit sick of all the "let's get annoyed about this" sheep...
I've been a pretty vocal privacy advocate for a while, but I'm really struggling here...
Google is doing something via Android, but (as shown above is ensuring the user is asked first.
Google used to do this via Street View cars but messed up and "accidentally" logged actual data. If they'd just tracked location+MAC I doubt it would be a massive problem.
Skyhook used cars to log location+MAC
So why is Google being berated for it's actions here? The wifi-slurp aside, I don't really see the big deal. I mean if they used a camera on their car to read the big numbers you carefully affix to your front door and map the location to the numbers would that be evil? These numbers are something you "broadcast" via visible light frequencies after all. Is that really any different to broadcasting your MAC's via non-visible frequencies?
If you are that privacy concious then either find a wifi system that doesn't broadcast a MAC or use wired Ethernet (and don't forget to remove the numbers from your front door too!).
I take privacy very seriously, but this is something you are consciously broadcasting. If you don't like the fact that someone is picking up that broadcast then don't do it in the first place.
I'm sorry but all the furore over this issue is just crazy and smacks of people getting annoyed because that's the cool thing to do these days, without really thinking about it for ten minutes.
I'd like to see all these uber-nerds who are up in arms about Google slurping data immediately stop their SETI@Home systems because, let's face it, it was slurped in the same way... what's the difference?