Say Wi-Fi Hi

Mathias Nitzsche had a nifty idea: using Wi-Fi network names to create a connection between the network's owner and those who spot it in their wireless networks list. His aptly named site lets you pick a handle and advertise it through your network name, as in This creates an account for you on the site, and makes a Web form available at that address that sends email to your Google or Facebook email, whichever you used to create the registration. The visitor never sees your email address. (Nitzsche avoids having his own registration database, which removes some overhead and security risk associated with retaining passwords.)

I contacted Mathias to ask about privacy and security issues, as one might be concerned about email addresses being stored and the association of a Wi-Fi network name with such. He said (and his FAQ notes) that he doesn't reveal information to third parties. While he's based in Germany, his data and application is hosted in the Google App Engine in the United States.

I'd love to see a variant on this idea, in which an existing network name could be paired with a unique few letter long code that someone would then append to their network. Look up the code, and you'd get the same result. I admit Nitzsche's idea is neater, encoding the URL and the identifier all at once.

This is probably a good time to also mention, the site that is to network names what Damn You, Auto Correct! is to rewritten text messages.


  1. Perhaps he should’ve hosted his data in Germany or another european country. Nothing is private and no data is safe in the US.

  2. If I’m gonna let someone use my WiFi network, the last thing I want is for either of us to be anonymous.  My SSID is the URI for my website, so people can go there and click on the “WiFi Info” link to find out how to contact me to ask to borrow my service.  I wouldn’t trust an Anonymous Coward to not spy on my traffic if I were using his network, and likewise I wouldn’t trust an Anonymous Coward on my own network.

  3. Damn you autocorrect is pretty stupid, but wtfwifi is probably the worst attempt at humour that I’ve ever seen on the web.  So thanks for that.

    1. I suppose you could use that approach to discourage leeches from using your network.  Call your WAP something like kiddiepornarchives or virustest.

  4. Neat! But I think the innovation that we need to see in the world is more along the lines of Wi-Fi Hi-Fi.

  5. “While he’s based in Germany, his data and application is hosted in the Google App Engine in the United States.”

    As his domain is registered in Germany, I cannot see how he is respecting the Privacy Directive and Privacy legislation limiting the export of personal data out of the EU.

  6. Over-engineered. If you want anonymous, make the SSID a use specific webmail account: yourneighborATgmailDOTcom

    If you want to use an identifying email, use your real address. I’ve been doing this for years. (and have never had somebody contact me, by the way)

  7. @LowerHater:disqus  Your problem might have been that an email address is less official and can’t explain why you are doing this. Whereas a little introduction text on a website exactly for this purpose can do so.

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