Google is using your wireless router

I’ve known about Google’s (and other companies’) use of the SSID and location of my wireless router for some time. My phone, for instance, uses this information to approximate my location. Other phones do this as well. In fact, before GPS became common in smart phones, it was the only way to determine where you were for location-based services (such as finding a local restaurant).

Google does offer a way for you to opt out of this, but as this article points out, that’s not necessarily the right way to go about things. For instance, not everyone knows how to make the changes in the router to accommodate Google’s opt-out method. What if, like myself, you have a long-running network and don’t wish to change everything (not only do you have to change the settings on the router, but you now have to tell all your equipment the new setting)? Another thing suggested in the article is how accommodating Google won’t help you if another company decides to offer a similar service and doesn’t honor the same opt-out method as Google (or any opt-out method at all).

In my opinion, I have bigger things on my mind than people using my wireless network for location-based services. I understand that by broadcasting my SSID, it is visible from the outside. Half of the problem of using wireless networks for location determination is that people have a tendency to move and this will disrupt that kind of service. I even have a mobile hotspot that I use. I can just imagine how that can disrupt things.

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