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Google Succumbs to Privacy Regulators, Offers Wi-Fi Database Opt-out

On Tuesday, Google announced that they have agreed to provide its users the option to keep names as well as locations of the "user's home and business Wi-Fi routers" out of Google's database.

Google had to take this decision after succumbing to pressures from Netherlands' privacy regulators.

Such data is used by Google to pinpoint different locations of user's cellphones as well as other mobile devices within the routers broadcast range. The information is crucial and important for weather as well as mapping services besides many other such things. This also permits Google to display relevant advertising for any nearby business set ups, reported New York Times (opens in new tab).

Google said that routers owners would need to add "_nomap" at the end of their router's name to opt out of Google's database.

According to Chenxi Wang, principal analyst who covers security at Forrester Research, "I think the Wi-Fi network operator would be more than happy to have it plotted."

Chairman of Dutch Data Protection Authority, Jacob Kohnstamm, views this agreement as a positive step towards consumer privacy.

Kohnstamm said "We all hope that with enforcement actions like these, the bigger firms will use privacy by design from the start so we don't need to go into enforcement mode," New York Times reported.

Ravi Mandalia

Ravi Mandalla was ITProPortal's Sub Editor (and a contributing writer) for two years from 2011. Based in Ahmedabad, India, Ravi is now the owner and founder of Parity Media Pvt. Ltd., a news and media company, which specializes in online publishing, technology news and analysis, reviews, web site traffic growth, web site UI. Ravi lists his specialist subjects as: Enterprise, IT, Technology, Gadgets, Business, High Net Worth Individuals, Online Publishing, Advertising, Marketing, Social Media, News, Reviews, Audio, Video, and Multi-Media. He has also previously worked as Dy. Manager - IT Security at (n)Code Solutions.