[FoRK] Fwd: [ PFIR ] Google announces opt-out for wi-fi location database, but beware of possible side effects

mdw at martinwills.com mdw at martinwills.com
Wed Nov 16 06:01:22 PST 2011


Google collects that information as part of it's location services. 
Whenever you have a non-gps phone using the Google navigation services,
Google reverts to updating the location of your phone using triangulation
of cell towers. If there is only one, it also tries to use the mac address
of wifi APs that have been mapped by gps enabled phones.  There are
numerous places in the US that you can only find/not find a cell tower and
google falls back to using the mac addresses previously mapped.  The mac
addresses are readily available and are NOT SUBJECT to privacy concerns. 
It is the same as anything else.  If you are drinking a beer in your front
yard and a cop drives by (in most states) you can be given a ticket.  If
you go to your back yard where you can't be seen, you can drink all you
want. The privacy rules are quite simple.  As my grandma always said: "If
you don't want people to see your dirty laundry, don't hang it on the
clothesline".  Same with privacy.

--Martin--


>>> If you care
>>> anything about security, not to mention privacy, you shouldn't be
>>> broadcasting that at all.
>>>
>>> I have a better idea, we should have a campaign that everyone change
>>> their
>>> ssid to "wireless," "netgear," "linksys," or "default."
>
> Aren't you missing the point?
>
> Google looks for wifi APs, and maps these to locations. I'm not sure
> what info about the AP it looks for, but the SSID is certainly
> immaterial. As far as I can tell, it looks for the MAC address and
> this is always broadcast, even if your SSID is not.
>
> The munged SSID is just a way to tell google to please ignore your AP.
>
> If I understand correctly, this means that if you DON'T broadcast your
> SSID, you CAN'T opt out :-)
>
> --
> jean                                              . .. .... //\\\oo///\\
>
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