Opt out WiFi from Google and Microsoft location tracking

A stock image showing a lock on a fence

I was reading a Hacker News piece about Amazon opting out of Google’s FLoC and I learned something even more interesting. Google and Microsoft have been using information of WiFi networks, including residential properties, for location tracking purposes. It’s mind blowing that companies are able to make decisions as such. These requests must be opt-in, vs being an opt-out which is the case today.

A stock image showing a lock on a fence

Apparently this has been a thing for over a decade, and the earliest article that I could find on this is this blog post from Google where they outline a way to opt-out one’s access points and routers from this location tracking service. It’s fairly straightforward — one has to append _nomap to their router SSID.

As for Microsoft’s equivalent of opting-out, one may add _optout to any part of the router’s SSID.

To chain both opt-outs, _optout_nomap must do the trick. I did so on both bands on router – 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz.

This is generally done by accessing the web-based software for your WiFi router and somewhere on the settings menu, you will see an option to change its name.

Related: Setting up pihole on the Tailscale network to block ads and telemetry on the go.

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