In response to requests from European data protection agencies, Google announced it will offer anyone who owns a WiFi access point to opt-out of being used to determine mobile users’ locations.
“Even though the wireless access point signals we use in our location services don’t identify people, we think we can go further in protecting people’s privacy,” wrote Google’s Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer in a company blog post Tuesday.
“We are building an opt-out service that will allow an access point owner to opt out from Google's location services ... we’ll be making this opt-out available globally, and we’ll release more detailed information about it when it’s ready to launch later this autumn.”
The company has drawn scrutiny for its practice of using WiFi access points for location-based services such as Google Maps for Mobile. Google said that the access points provide a low-power alternative to pinpoint a user’s location when GPS is not available.
Google also collects anonymized data from its Android users who have opted-in to location service, it told Congress members earlier this year.