Add _nomap to your router’s SSID to have it ignored by Google and Mozilla

The service set identifier (SSID) is a unique identifier for a wireless network and commonly referred to as the network name.

It is used to identify the right network when connecting devices such as smartphones, game consoles, media devices, tablets or anything else that supports wireless connections.

The SSID is broadcasted by the access point, a router for instance, which often means that it can be picked up by other devices in the vicinity.

This can result in situations where neighbors or even complete strangers sitting in a car outside your house can (try to) connect to your network.

Since the information are public in nature, they are also picked up by companies. Google and Mozilla use the information for example to improve location-based services.

So, in situations where GPS is not available or reliable, knowing names of wireless networks in the vicinity may pinpoint the location of the user as well.

The information need to be available in a database before it can be used though, and that is one of the reasons why Google or Mozilla record the data or ask users to record the data for them.

Mozilla released Stumbler recently for example, an app that records these information while you walk, cycle or drive around.

If you don't want your SSID to be recorded or used, you can add _nomap to it to prevent that from happening.

Google has a help page up that explains how that is done for some common routers and I suggest you check it out if you have never configured the access points in your house.

ssid nomap

What you need to do is load the IP address of the access point in a web browser of choice to access its admin interface. You may be able to find out about the IP by looking at the back of the router or the manual, or by running the ipconfig command on your system.

You need to enter a password to access the admin dashboard, and you find that password on the router or manual as well most of the time.

Once there you need to open the wireless network configuration and change the SSID of the device accordingly.

On my router for instance, I have to select Configuration > Security, and there SSID & Encryption. The easiest option here is to append _nomap to the identifier that is currently in use.

Please note that this is not a catch-all solution. Some companies honor the _nomap identifer while others may not. There is currently no real option to prevent the recording from happening if you are broadcasting a signal.

Now You: What is your take on the recording of access point SSID information?

Summary
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Add _nomap to your router's SSID to have it ignored by Google and Mozilla
Description
The guide explains how to add _nomap to an access point's SSID to prevent companies like Mozilla or Google from recording the information and using it in their products.
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Responses to Add _nomap to your router’s SSID to have it ignored by Google and Mozilla

  1. Gonzo October 29, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    This isn't a solution. This is a lot like Do Not Track. It requires those making the query to respect the "request" of the router.

    I have no faith that Google or Mozilla (mostly a Google entity at this point) will respect my request. Instead they'll compile a database of _nomap (the owner of this router is hiding something) and hand it to their gov't buddies.

    Another method for unique identification. Makes me wonder if this was their intent from the outset

  2. Olly October 29, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    My take - If it bothers you then don't broadcast an SSID at all :-)

  3. CHEF-KOCH October 29, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    Agree with olly. And how easy it is to update tracking tools ro include nomap? That is only a temporary solution.
    On Android I use chainfires Pry-FI app to generate randome mac's and disable the ssi spoofing which works quite good.

  4. Roebie October 30, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    I also agree with Olly. Just don't broadcast your SSID if you don't want it to be recorded. After all, you shouldn't allow anyone on your wireless network you don't know anyway. And those you do know can ask you for the correct SSID.

  5. insanelyapple October 30, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    This should be done in opposite way, as opt-in but then it wouldn't had any sense for them. I also like Gonzo don't believe they will respect my choice and perhaps they would rather create a database of those who didn't wanted to be included in this "project".

    I could and I want to disable ssid broadcast but my mother's iPhone won't find wifi then.

  6. angelant99 November 1, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    @insanelyapple,
    i was looking into this recently on a galaxy S4 not wanting to connect to a hidden SSID. I haven't tried it myself yet, but apparently there's success found:

    "Go to your Wi-Fi settings, to the page showing available connections, and press the menu button, and select Advanced. Turn off the option for "Check for Internet service."
    I found that as I walked out of range of my home or work router, the phone was detecting the connection didn't work any longer - but instead of just figuring out i was out of range, it was marking it internally as a bad connection! That kept it from automatically reconnecting the next time i was in range, and forced me to re-enter the password when I manually tried to connect. I turned off that setting, and haven't had a lost access point yet.

    http://support.t-mobile.com/thread/44932 (comment 9 on the bottom of the page)

  7. Bazza November 2, 2014 at 5:27 am #

    I agree with Olly, chef & Roebie just turn off the broadcast of the SSID.
    My guess is that no_map is as effective as Google Do Not Track

  8. Michael November 3, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Mozilla does not record the SSID. They record the BSSID of the WiFi, which is the Mac address by default:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSSID#Basic_service_set_identification_.28BSSID.29

    If you append _nomap to the SSID, they do not save the BSSID.

  9. Tim November 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    Just been reading the Arstechnica article about how phones, etc. broadcast the SSID's of networks that you have previously connected to. Therefore when you're out and about, when these SSID's are transmitted by the phone to look for those networks, they can be captured and used to look up where your networks are located and therefore be used to identify where you live, work, etc.

    Nomap isn't really a solution, I've just tried using "_nomap" on an ISP supplied D-link router and it won't let me use it because it doesn't accept underscores. It just says "Wireless Network Name can only contain 0-9,a-z,A-Z and -". What do you propose now Google? Will you supply people with a free router that accepts underscores so that they are able to opt out?

  10. DD75 June 20, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    Works great for me.

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