Opting out of Google's WLAN geolocation mapping and network quality rating where they test your network and add it to a big database requires you to change your SSID to have a _nomap suffix.
@djsumdog You're wrong - it matters how it is done, and it matters who does it.
Local actors have very different abilities to affect anything compared to global actors with a defacto-monopoly.
Just because law or "society's awareness" has not caught up with that can of worms doesn't make it OK
@djsumdog @eaon @polychrome @AstaMcCarthy @msavoritias even though I hate Google I agree with you on this mostly. I'm little on the fence but that's mainly my prejudice. I'm curious though, are they using the signals direction based on strength to determine location or does unencrypted packets contain this info? I'm honestly clueless about how ssid is transmittesd and such.
@jordan31 @djsumdog @eaon @AstaMcCarthy @msavoritias every time an Android based smartphone with default privacy settings sees your WLAN SSID it reports the signal strength along with the GPS coordinates of where it saw the signal value to Google.
Using that they can estimate a radius where your WiFi router might be sitting at. After awhile they get enough data points to shrink it down to a pretty good guess.
Later by triangulating your estimated router location with other known WiFi routers in the same area they can get a pretty good idea of a phone's location with a simple WiFi signal scan, thereby providing a low power alternative for devices that can't use GPS satellites for whatever reason. In modern smartphones this is used a fallback/support for GPS satellites.
The tech is actually pretty impressive and useful - but you *know* the data isn't just used for low power mapping - this is Google after all.
@djsumdog going around war-driving and using your presence on billions of people's always-on sensorised pocket computers are two different things though
@djsumdog Wrong, any kind of marketing tracking requires opt-in for EU-based users, under the GDPR.
And just because some protocol made by big tech companies broadcasts identifiers (SSID by default, and MAC¹ either way) doesn't mean it's acceptable to track people and geolocate based on these IDs without their consent…
1. Which is considered as Personally-Identifiable Information because it's supposed To be unique, and it is *per network*, thus GDPR applies.
@polychrome also _optout for microsoft
_nomap needs to be last though, so the whole SSID should be YourSSID_optout_nomap
@SigmaOne I didn't know about _optout - this is ridiculous.
If they're going to force us to opt-out instead of opt-in they should atleast offer a server to get MAC address blacklist requests.
slight "chapeau de tinfoil" thinking, but this arrangement also means a bad actor (or other organisation) could simply drive around scanning for SSIDs with these bits added and think "clearly they have something to hide".
And what stops GAFAM just logging all these "opted out" SSIDs anyway on a non public database and sending those to the feds if/when requested (such as a SSID regularly seen near a protest site?)
The lack of easy geolocation opt-out is also a major issue for wifi hardware for temporary events.
It takes a few weeks for Google's database to update, so everyone's phones think they're at the location where the wifi access points were last used.
Even more fun, it turns out a lot of phone-paired card payment terminals are geolocked to the country they're registered in, using the phone's geolocation...
A couple of things I wonder...
First, if you have a hidden wifi network (like me) and an android phone is set up to connect to it, is it still added to the database? Remember, this is *not* publicly broadcast data, which most conversations here seem to assume.
Secondly, if I have a session called 1234 and I change it to 1234_nomap, does that just prevent 1234_nomap from being collected, or will 1234 also be removed?
@Blort no idea! You'll have to ask in a Google support forum so they can ignore it until enough people raise a stink about it on Reddit or Twitter.