How to tell Google Street View to sod off

Tired of Google Street View snooping on you? Here's how to remove yourself from their spying eyes.

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That bottom link will take you to a Web site where you can report an “inappropriate” street view. You have three options. You can report the view for “privacy concerns,” but only if it’s a picture of a face, a house, or a car or license plate that hasn’t already been blurred.

You can report “offensive content, such as nudity.” Or you can select Other, which includes errors in the map, bad image quality or “security concerns.” Some military bases and intelligence agencies have gotten themselves exempted from Google Street View, for example, because the images could provide helpful intel to bad guys.

I didn’t want my house blurred out, though, I wanted it removed, permanently. So I picked the security option and sent a note asking them to make my house invisible. Didn’t make a damned bit of difference, though -- they just blurred it out anyway.

The good news? They’re pretty quick about it. My house was removed in less than 24 hours. The bad news? You may have to opt out again the next time Google sends Street View vans snooping around your hood.

2. Remove your WiFi network from Google’s database

Though Google claims it has stopped slurping up people’s data, you may still want to remove your WiFi network from the Google Location Server database. Really, can anyone trust what they say any more?

There’s a solution, but in typical Google fashion it’s too geeky for most mere mortals. To keep Google’s grubby mitts off your WiFi, you need to append the phrase “_nomap” (without the quotation marks) to the end of your Service Set Identifier (SSID). So if your home network is called “Dans House of Awesome,” you’d have to change it to “Dans House of Awesome_nomap.”

Simple right? Not exactly. This means two things.

1. You’ll have to remember the log on and  password for your WiFi router.

2. You’ll have to change the WiFi settings on every single device that accesses your network, or they won’t be able to find it.

Odds are you never changed your router’s default password, which means you may be able to look it up online. If you did change it and you can’t remember the new one, you’ll need to manually reset your router and start from scratch. Fun, eh?

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