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Google to offer tracking opt-out to Wi-Fi owners

Tue, 09/13/2011 - 1:05pm
The Associated Press

Google is making a concession to give owners of residential wireless networks greater privacy.

In a change announced Tuesday, Google will prevent residential wireless systems from being listed in a database that helps the company track people on cell phones.

The adjustment is a response to concerns raised in Europe. Regulators there have periodically looked into whether Google's mapping services violate Europe's privacy laws.

To avoid trouble, Google will permit owners of wireless networks to opt out of the company's tracking technology. The option will be available worldwide in the autumn.

Google relies on the signals from wireless, or Wi-Fi, networks scattered around neighborhoods to get a better handle on locations of someone on a cell phone using Google's Android software or other services. The company says the Wi-Fi networks don't reveal people's identities.

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