Practical Technology

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How to keep your Wi-Fi location out of Google

This summer it was revealed that Google Street View cars, besides taking photos of your neighborhood, were also collecting the street addresses, Wi-Fi service set identifier (SSID), and the unique Media Access Control (MAC) identification information for computers, Wi-Fi access points (AP)s, and routers. Worse still, Google was, apparently by accident, also grabbing unencrypted passwords and e-mails. Yack!

While Google quickly backed off grabbing people’s personal data, the company’s Google Street View cars are continuing to pick up Wi-Fi access points and routers’ unique MACs, SSIDs, and physical addresses.

Google uses this information to improve its Google Map and other location-based services, but what if you don’t want to contribute to this effort? Until recently, you were stuck.

Now, Google will let you opt-out. Frankly, I think it would be a lot better if they only recorded your Wi-Fi equipment’s location if you opted in, but it is what it is.

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