Google has created a way for people to block the company from scanning their Wi-Fi routers, which it scans as part of its location-based services.
Google looks for wireless access points to help pinpoint mobile handsets, useful when inside or when GPS is otherwise unavailable.
The system caused trouble for Google last year, as its efforts to build a database using scanning equipment on its Street View camera cars collected unrelated personal data.
"The wireless access point information we use in our location database, the Google Location Server, doesn’t identify people," said Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel, in a Google blog post.
However, people will be able to opt-out of the database by including "_nomap" on the end of their router's name. "To opt out, visit your access point’s settings and change the wireless network name (or SSID) so that it ends with _nomap," he said. "For example, if your SSID is 'Network', you‘d need to change it to 'Network_nomap'."
Google said it chose the naming convention for the opt-out method as it provides the "right balance of simplicity as well as protection against abuse".
"Specifically, this approach helps protect against others opting out your access point without your permission," Fleischer claimed, adding that Google hoped other companies would also use the opt-out tool.
"Because other location providers will also be able to observe these opt-outs, we hope that over time the '_nomap' string will be adopted universally. This would help benefit all users by providing everyone with a unified opt-out process regardless of location provider."
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk