In a move in the direction of the privacy concerns that are being debated globally, Google has announced that it would provide an option to the owners of home Wi-Fi routers around the world, to remove their devices from the registry it uses to locate mobile phone users.
This disclosure has an important aspect as around four months back, European regulators had warned that it would be recognized as the violation of European laws if unauthorized use of the data, which is sent by Wi-Fi routers, was detected at any stage. The data transmitted by these routers can transmit location, identities, and names of the cellphones that come within their range.
In a precedent around a year before, European officials were incensed when Google collected unencrypted Internet data from residential wireless routers in order to gather StreetView feature maps. Though an apology was made citing programming error, it had to settle many complaints by paying fine as well.
Pater Fleischer, the global privacy counsel for Google, said, “At the request of several European data protection authorities, we are building an opt-out service that will allow an access point owner to opt out from Google’s location services. Once opted out, our services will not use that access point to determine users’ locations.”
The privacy concerns took a toll around the world when iPhone and Windows Phone 7 based handsets were found to transmit user location and identity details using the Wi-Fi access points. This move by Google may have an effect on its location-based advertisement programs, but it can opt for cellphone towers and global positioning systems for the purpose. Meanwhile, the move to produce a system to opt for delisting home wireless routers shall cover up some dent in the company’s image that surfaced during its StreetView mapping initiative.
At a time when Google is trying to expand its services to multiple domains, such as innovative development of Android operating system for mobiles and the Chrome OS for computers, such a gesture shall certainly make a rapport among people.