Q. You list Google Chromecast as one of the “Best of the Year.” Are you concerned about privacy with a product that requires users to log on to google.com and provide the name and password for their home wireless network? Does this mean that the next time Google’s Street View camera cars drive by that they can legally capture Wi-Fi traffic because the user has voluntarily provided that information?—Joe Story Silver Spring, MD
Google says that it doesn’t collect Wi-Fi information with the Street View vehicles. Instead, it says it does it by gathering data in the background from smart-phone users who have Wi-Fi and GPS turned on and have agreed to share received location data with Google. To render your Wi-Fi anonymous to such trolling, you can choose to turn off “SSID broadcast” in your router settings.
Your Wi-Fi router’s name will then show up as blank in any search, and you’ll have to remember it and give it to any guest (or new device, such as Chromecast) that needs access. If you just want to drop it from Google’s location service, add “_nomap” to the end of the existing name.
Check our guide to online security for more information.
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