Google to allow people to opt out of WiFi location services

Google's WiFi location services uses a person's wireless connection to help show where things like restaurants, gas stations and other businesses and activities are available near a person's origin point. But some online privacy advocates have expressed concerns in the past over how Google uses and stores such location data. This week, Google announced it is working on a way to let WiFi users opt out of being detected by Google's location services.

The announcement was made via Google's European policy blog site. The blog entry, written by the company's Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer, says that the company, " ... uses publicly broadcast WiFi data from wireless access points to improve our location-based services. By using signals from access points, smart phones are able to fix their general location quickly without using too much power."

But such features have, as Fleischer admits in the blog, come under scrutiny by a number of European-based regulators. They have been looking into if Google's online location services violate the privacy laws of various countries in that part of the world. So Google has decided to give users the option to hide their WiFi connection from the company. Fleischer said, "Once opted out, our services will not use that access point to determine users’ locations. We’ll be making this opt-out available globally, and we’ll release more detailed information about it when it’s ready to launch later this autumn." He added, "Even though the wireless access point signals we use in our location services don’t identify people, we think we can go further in protecting people’s privacy."

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10 Comments

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neo158 said,
Great, but surely this should be an opt-in service instead!!!

Not likely. You ever install a software and during the installation it has things like Install the Bing Bar or Google Tool Bar, etc.. and it's checked On by default? It's the same concept. if a user is happy click, then they will be automatically opted in. But it's not like you can never turn it off. Just like when you install something with unnecessary add-ons, you can always uninstall it later if you were click happy.

This is how they collect data and they will not make it easier for the end user.

It's not realistically possible to make it an opt-in service, and keep any functionality with it.

If you're worried about people seeing your WiFi signal, it's probably best to not use WiFi then.

UndergroundWire said,

Not likely. You ever install a software and during the installation it has things like Install the Bing Bar or Google Tool Bar, etc.. and it's checked On by default? It's the same concept. if a user is happy click, then they will be automatically opted in. But it's not like you can never turn it off. Just like when you install something with unnecessary add-ons, you can always uninstall it later if you were click happy.

This is how they collect data and they will not make it easier for the end user.

And why are you OK with those checkboxes being checked by default? I didn't check them. So why are they checked? Are you going to say corporations are people who should have the same rights even though corporations are out for their bottomline only? Ridiculous.

Like I previously said, does Google ask the user"Do you want to allow Google to track your location?"? I don't think so. That's because Google doesn't want people to get it. If Google asked that question, nobody would click it.


Either ask the right question or get the **** out. These business models should be illegal.


Who the **** knows what location services means? Does it mean i manually type in a zip code? Do I as a user want to be signing legal documents to be using a stupid piece of software which is supposedly going to track me instead of just helping me read email? How many people know that those are legal documents that save Google's ass and not their ass?


People like you who act like corporate shills make me ****ing sick.

Edited by Jebadiah, Sep 14 2011, 3:46pm :

The_Decryptor said,
It's not realistically possible to make it an opt-in service, and keep any functionality with it.

If you're worried about people seeing your WiFi signal, it's probably best to not use WiFi then.


Using wifi does NOT automatically opt me in for location tracking. If you can't allow people to opt in after asking the right question that does not bring doubt, then you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. The do-er is the criminal, not the do-ee.

Edited by Jebadiah, Sep 14 2011, 3:56pm :

The_Decryptor said,
If you're worried about people seeing your WiFi signal, it's probably best to not use WiFi then.

Or surely make your Wi-Fi hidden?
Not that hard is it. A simple check box on the router settings page.

Jebadiah said,
blah, blah, blah...

Are you feeling OK? How about do this instead, if you don't like their products or policies, don't use it. What a genius of an idea that is. Nobody's is putting a gun to your head to use it. END OF STORY! Since you are aware of it, I assume you won't be using it anymore. Bah Bye!

Jebadiah said,

Like I previously said, does Google ask the user"Do you want to allow Google to track your location?"? I don't think so. That's because Google doesn't want people to get it. If Google asked that question, nobody would click it.


Either ask the right question or get the **** out. These business models should be illegal.


one of the first question asked when you are booting Android setup....

Jebadiah said,

Using wifi does NOT automatically opt me in for location tracking. If you can't allow people to opt in after asking the right question that does not bring doubt, then you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. The do-er is the criminal, not the do-ee.

ask your rooter company not google...

Jebadiah said,
And why are you OK with those checkboxes being checked by default? I didn't check them. So why are they checked? Are you going to say corporations are people who should have the same rights even though corporations are out for their bottomline only? Ridiculous.

you are agreeing to it you are free to not do check them...
You can also try some other software free or paid that have no checkbox