While this thread started as an *SSID* thread, and your point is the ease of changing the SSID, I think the real threat is that Google saves the LAN WiFI MAC, which is far more *difficult* to change than the SSID is.
It's not really about "stoooopid neighbors", you're the one broadcasting your wireless on to their property, if you stop doing that, you have nothing to worry about.
Yes, although if you're in an suburban area the geo-databases can probably figure out the order of access points as you drive down the road by looking at relative signal strengths from known positions.
If you think you are that valuable a target for that level of intelligence gathering you should harden all of your systems, including any land line phone, OnStar for your car, credit card numbers, customer loyalty cards, E-Z Pass devices in your car and if you care to believe that facial recognition is as good IRL as it is on NCIS the wear a veil.
If you were presented proof that they don't do that would you accept it?
#v+ mike@braetac:~$ less /usr/lib/firefox/distribution/searchplugins/locale/en-US/duckduckgo.xml /usr/lib/firefox/distribution/searchplugins/locale/en-US/duckduckgo.xml: No such file or directory #v-
If this bothers you then remove that search plugin and just go to the page directly. Surely that little bit of extra effort isn't too much to insure the safety of your self, your family and your stoooooopid neighbors.
By checking a phone against a global database of Wi-Fi networks, the device's location can be determined (within 100 feet) without the need to enable a phone's GPS features. It's not just Google, either; Skyhook wireless started "wardriving" back in 2003 to build a similar database of Wi-Fi networks, which Apple used until launching its own service last year.
Once a car or phone finds a Wi-Fi network, it sends the router's BSSID/ MAC address, signal strength, GPS coordinates and more back to Google. Researcher Samy Kamkar's new android map tool lets you use run those router-specific MAC addresses through Google's database. Kamkar explains on his blog, the tool "allows you to ping that database and find exactly where any wi-fi router in the world is located" -- you can usually find your router's MAC address in the device's administration tools. If Google has tracked your router, plugging it into android map will reveal its longitude, country, county, street and even postal code number.
Kamkar told The Register, "They're sending all your GPS coordinates. They know how fast you're traveling. Theres a unique identifier that's always sent." By analyzing the phone's location and ID, Kamkar argued that Google would easily be able to map where you work and live. After it was revealed last week that Google and Apple are tracking phone users' location data, both companies are under pressure from consumers, congressmen and privacy groups looking for answers as to how, why and when this data is being tracked and transmitted.
This says "WiFi positioning databases store the BSSID, GPS coordinates and RSSI value".
I think it's suspicious that the ESSID isn't listed there.
The article suggests you change your LAN WiFi card BSSID to DE:AD:BE:EF:13:37 One MAC address that can be used is DE:AD:BE:EF:13:37. This MAC address geolocates to Piazza di Porta Maggiore, 2-4 40125 Bologna, Italy. Latitude: 44.4899982 Longitude: 11.3569865
However I can't get this MAC address location lookup tool to work:
Does it work for you to find your MAC address in the Google location db?
Hi Frank, I'd be happy to be wrong because I just want to know *what* is being sent to Google under what circumstances.
Here's what that zdnet article "says"... note the words "Cell-ID". I was just asking what a "Cell-ID" is?
Is that our phone number? Is that the ad tracking number that we must have but can change? Is that the local cell tower?
What is the "Cell-ID"?
[quote] When I wrote about Google making it possible to opt-out of their Wi-Fi access point mapping program, I made a mistake. I thought Google was still using its StreetView cars to pick up Wi-Fi locations. Nope, Eitan Bencuya, a Google spokesperson, tells me that Google no longer uses StreetView cars to collect location information. So, how does Google collect Wi-Fi location data? They use you.
Or, to be more exact, they use your Android phone or tablet. But, it's not just Google. Apple and Microsoft do the same thing with their smartphones and tablets.
I'd missed this, but earlier this year Apple, Google and other companies got into hot-water because they've been collecting location data from your devices for some time now. These days, it seems, it's the only way any of the big companies pick up Wi-Fi location data.
How it works, according to Google, is that the Android Location Services periodically checks on your location using GPS, Cell-ID, and Wi-Fi to locate your device. When it does this, your Android phone will send back publicly broadcast Wi-Fi access points' Service set identifier (SSID) and Media Access Control (MAC) data. Again, this isn't just how Google does it; it's how everyone does it. It's Industry practice for location database vendors.
Google tells me that the location checks are made periodically. You don't need to be using Google Maps, Latitude or other geolocation-based application. It just happens.
You can check on this yourself by going to your Android phone and then going to Settings/Location and check Google Location Services or Security/ Use Wireless Network off and on. When you check it on you'll get a location consent agreement. This reads: "Allow Google's location service to collect anonymous location data. Collection will occur even when no applications are running."
You don't have to use Google's Wi-Fi location service. You can elect to just use your device's built-in GPS, but the more data points your smartphone has to work with the more accurately it can fix your location and thus make location-based services more accurate and useful. In other words, if you use Wi-Fi on an Android device to help pin your position down though you'll also be contributing to creating Google's maps.
If all that makes you feel a little queasy-what is Apple, Google, and Microsoft doing with this information--well each of them states that they're using the data anonymously. As Google's Director of Public Policy Alan Davidson said in a statement to the Senate judiciary subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law this May:
While location-based services are already showing great value to users, Google recognizes the particular privacy concerns that come with the collection and storage of location information. That's why we don't collect any location information - any at all - through our location services on Android devices unless the user specifically chooses to share this information with Google. We also give users clear notice and control; the set-up process asks users if they would like to "allow Google's location service to collect anonymous location data."
And even after opting in, we give users a way to easily turn off location sharing with Google at any time they wish. The location services in our Android operating system embody the transparency and control principles that we use to guide our privacy process.
Still don't trust them? Well, you can always write your Congress-critter and ask them to support the GPS act, which is meant to set guidelines, legal procedures and protections on electronic devices and location tracking. Specifically it states that the
Government must show probable cause and warrant to acquire geolocational information. The Act will apply to real-time tracking of person's current and past movements. Creates criminal penalties for using a device to track a person. Prohibits commercial service providers from sharing geolocation data with outside entities.
The GPS act still hasn't passed into law, but it's slowly drawing broader support.
In the meantime, if you're really that concerned about the possibility of your phone being tracked, then just don't use Wi-Fi or cellular services on your Android phone, or any other device, to help fix your location. On my Droid 2 phone with Android 2.3, the option to do this is Setting/ Location & Security settings/Standalone GPS services.
As for me, I find the advantages of having knowing exactly where I am and where the hotel, restaurant, theater, or what-have you are in relationship to my location to be worth the vanishingly small chance that someone is tracking me with this data. [/quote]
The article does not specifically state it, but it's safe to assume that it will send the *location* which is *derived from* "GPS, Cell-ID, and Wi-Fi". I.e. it does not say it *sends* the Cell-ID, it says it
*uses* the Cell-ID to determine your location.
Here's the relevant part, with uppercase emphasis by me:
Note that the article does not say it sends the location, but it of course does that, because otherwise there would be no point sending the other information.
Anyway, whatever it sends, it effectively sends the - accurate or approximate - location.
Yes, I read the article and answered your question:
[Quote of ZDNet article deleted.]
The link is in the article (under "Researcher Samy Kamkar's new android map tool ..."), but the important point is that Alice used past tense: "There WAS a lookup tool..." (emphasis mine). The tool is still there at the given link (), but as that page says, it does not work anymore ("Note: Google has taken steps to stop my tool from working ...").
Also the 'OUI Lookup Tool - MAC Address Lookup Tool' mentioned in the WLANBook.com article(s) seems to have vanished, because cannot be found.
Searching Google indicates that there are several other OUI lookup tools, but I have not checked if they provide the *location* (as the WLANBook.com tool says to do (