Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Google's _nomap SSID madness

Now, I try to write positive comments on my blog, but now and again things really irk me and I need to comment about them.  

Google is using wireless access point SSIDs to construct a database to enable devices to determine their location using wireless and hence not relying on GPS.   If you want to opt out of this database, Google is suggesting that one should simply append _nomap to the SSID.   Google also hopes that this will become a standard SSID opt-out for any location service database.

This basically means that if you want your desired SSID you get opted into Google's database (so much for privacy), otherwise you have to put up with some utterly stupid name that Google mandates.  Thanks for the choice Google.  And there is nothing to stop other location service providers either suggesting a different naming scheme to make it impossible to opt out of one or more schemes.

Now, if the UK government mandated that all SSIDs needed to be named in a specific way to opt out of their special database, there would be uproar.  However, Google just ploughs ahead with more of their data gathering and nobody seems to complain.


  1. I have a plan. Wait for the google scanner car to pass by, then when it's gone, change the ssid.

    If they rescan as often as they update the road layout on their maps it will be DECADES before they pick up the new ssid.

  2. We should have international change your SSID day.

  3. This should be an option in OpenWRT for the router to change its MAC address periodically, automatically.

    (Google uses the MAC address, not the SSID for their mapping purposes. In addition, they want these WiFi MAC addresses to *assist* in establishing the location, instead of replacing GPS.

    1. Hehe, is it why change of MAC if legally forbidden? :)