Author Topic: Geolocation > No Geolocation  (Read 46276 times)

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fredvries

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Geolocation > No Geolocation
« on: August 12, 2010, 11:22:49 AM »
Geolocation is a rather secret feature of some programs (browsers and toolbars) and smart phones. It allows the creator of that program to get a fix on the location of your computer to within a few meters of where you actually live. For the potential dangers read the article from BBC News entitled 'Web attack knows where you live' here.

The question is therefore how to effectively disable this feature. At this moment my little weblog offers solutions for
• Programs: Apple Safari, Firefox, Flock, Google Chrome, Google Toolbar, Opera and Twitter.
• Phones: Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid and Palm Pre

More info here.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 08:31:25 PM by fredvries »

fredvries

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 11:30:44 AM »
Update of my list of programs/phones that use geolocation.

Added:
Disabling of geolocation/GPS for Blackberry.

See here.

Offline Chris Thomas

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 12:15:12 PM »
I have already disabled it in Firefox

Nice read!

Offline SpeedyPC

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 02:25:29 PM »
I have already disabled it in Firefox

Nice read!

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Offline polonus

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 12:11:24 AM »
Hi fredvries,

Thanks for your contribution.
You know I support your initiative to inform us about this,

A new site in Holland points out the danger of services that use geolocation like Foursquare.
Did it ever cross your mind that all that you publish on the Internet about yourself can also be read by criminals, and when a service like mentioned tells you are there and there, the criminals know you are not at home for instance. So run a script on the site like Foursquare to see when someone is updating to tell them where they are is enough. The warning script was put up by some folks (Barry Borsboom, Frank Groeneveld, Boy van Amstel) that made such a script, they use it for ad-launching and to point out the dangers of geolocation to common users of social sites. When they can do this, cybercriminals can do this as well,

your forum friend,

polonus
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 12:31:10 AM by polonus »
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Offline polonus

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 08:41:48 PM »
Hi malware fighters,

Well you can test if you are lucky enough that Google does not have your geo-location yet:
http://foss-boss.blogspot.com/2010/08/bash-oneliner-get-gps-location-street.html
Code: [Select]
/bin/echo '{"version": "1.1.0","host": "maps.google.com","request_address": true,"address_language": "en_GB", "wifi_towers": [{"mac_address": "' $( iwlist wlan0 scan | grep Address | head -1 | awk '{print $5}' | sed -e 's/ //g' ) '","signal_strength": 8,"age": 0}]}'  | sed -e 's/" /"/' -e 's/ "/"/g' > /tmp/post.$$ && curl -X POST -d @/tmp/post.$$ http://www.google.com/loc/json | sed -e 's/{/\n/g' -e 's/,/\n/g'
more info even with
Code: [Select]

wget -q --post-data="`/bin/echo-n "{\"version\": \"1.1.0\",\"host\": \"maps.google.com\",\"request_address\": true,\"address_language\": \"en_GB\", \"wifi_towers\": [`iwlist scan 2> /dev/null | tr -d '\n' | sed -e 's/Cell [0-9]* - Address: \([0-9A-Z:]*\)[^C]*Channel:\([0-9]*\)[^S]*Signal level=\([0-9-]*\) dBm[^E]*E[^E]*ESSID:"\([^"]*\)"/\{"mac_address": "\1","signal_strength": \3,"age": 0,"channel": \2,"ssid": "\4"}/g' -e 's/[^{]*{/{/' -e 's/}[^{]*{/},{/g' -e 's/\}[^}]*$/\}/' `]}" | curl -s -X POST -d @/dev/fd/0 http://www.google.com/loc/json

Then start getting worried, or look here: http://www.mygeoposition.com/

polonus
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 08:46:04 PM by polonus »
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Hermite15

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2010, 09:55:00 PM »
according to your link Polonus, I'm supposed to be based in London ??? ;D

( http://www.mygeoposition.com/ )

Offline MikeBCda

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2010, 10:20:57 PM »
Interesting ... it shows exactly the same position for me.  London, Ont., is about 3000 miles closer, but even that's about 70 miles down the road from here.
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Offline polonus

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2010, 11:09:23 PM »
Hi Logos,

Well it is in the EU anyway, so what does it matter?
With me they came no further as to pinpoint to Amsterdam, so I never got out of the ISP server location.

But let us stay on topic. The geo-location issue is more of a problem for mobile applications and as you could have read from the link I gave not so much for users on Static IP via cable/adsl etc. The whole discussion started when the Google van came to the streets, and earlier when GPS could trace mobile phone users with an accuracy of a couple of square inches of where you have the gadget. In densely populated areas with a lot of antennas (cover) and transmission transport the problems are felt more. I think people do not care mainly because they haven't tried to visualize it, when you do that you see the beams to trace you come from everywhere. You have a chip in your passport, they can trace it, you have a chip in the shirt you bought somewhere, you can trace that, you have a chip in a book you bought, they can trace it, you have a chip in your packet of cereals, they trace it etc. etc. and also the combination of all that tracking gives the herders of man an immense data load enough really to quite likely predict your habits to profit from that greatly, so the problem is geo-location combined with a lot of issues - the transparent citizen...1984BB revisited in 2010...
And for the second thing you two observed...
Well there are preferred router routes taken, so akamai servers may re-route you not directly as you would expect but route your packets via a preferred data transmission support route, and then you go via Amsterdam, or Frankfurt, London is also a possibility for you (thanks to the Akamai boys, there they have to rethink geo-location a bit), well anyway the logging will be rather profound. What is also interesting to couple is the last refresh date of the page of the blogger combined with other data, run from a script or bookmarklet (The server indicates that the page here was last modified: 08/13/2010 22:56:17 as of the moment that I write this posting for this forum.avast.com page)

polonus
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Hermite15

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2010, 11:12:16 PM »
Hi Logos,

Well it is in the EU anyway, so what does it matter?
polonus

hi,

you're kidding :D that means that somehow from that site the geo location is broken. There are other places on the web that do a more precise job than that, like get you a result that's a few km away from where you actually live (somewhere around your ISP's nearest server).

edit: not mentioning that for Mike, the location was the same as mine, and he lives in Canada :D It's just not operational on that site.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 11:20:18 PM by Logos »

Offline polonus

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2010, 11:32:51 PM »
Hi Logos,

No, that is not the case. With you and with Mike the packets were routed via London, when this is done by support services where they send the animal in slices, you may have to wait longer depending on your location for the complete sausage to be delivered. It is just as it is done by the big data stream handler, see: a92-122-217-73.deploy.akamaitechnologies.com
Researches at Carnegie Mellon University and MIT are working on a new algorithm that is designed to route internet traffic to areas where the cost of energy is lower. This move could possibly save millions of dollars that would normally be spent on massive energy bills. Review, the algorithm is capable of calculating the best way to route internet traffic based on the expense of routing traffic further as opposed to how much money would be saved based on ..and there you could fill in a couple of ideas...

Damian
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Offline polonus

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2010, 11:48:38 PM »
Hi malware fighters,

To make out a well balanced debate we should also hear those that think there is nothing than good coming from geo-location, so for all that benefits you have not thought of read here: http://thesocialcustomer.com/maxgladwell/28012/10-ways-geolocation-changing-world
And for those optimists that always see the glass half full, here is to simple it up: http://simplegeo.com/
I found one issue a bit troubling SimpleGeo and SiteContent: http://simplegeo.com/page/terms-of-service.html
and there you see geo-location could be used to trace content, so content right bounty hunters could come up with settlement offers in case you used something on your blog that was an infringement, they lean back and see the cash flow coming in, Acta laws will give them the legal framework... benefit for you the user, I think not...

polonus
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 11:54:59 PM by polonus »
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Hermite15

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2010, 11:56:54 PM »
to make things clear, I for one am not particularly fond of geolocation, but as said and described already it's very easy to dismiss it through about:config in Firefox or more simply in the options in Chrome. Again, whenever there's a way to use technology to make money, it will be used extensively, and there's nothing to prevent commercial companies from doing that. People there are working to make money. Doesn't mean that you have to allow them to trap you of course, but here, it's so easy to block them that I'm wondering what was the need of starting a second thread on the same topic. I know, the other one was also about GPS. Never mind, I just think there's absolutely no need to be alarmist, that's all.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 09:21:34 AM by Logos »

BRANDONN2008

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2010, 12:45:55 AM »
Thank you. I have disabled it in Firefox and Chrome, but when I type about:config in Firefox, the warning says it may void my warranty, what's up with that?

Offline Marc57

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Re: Geolocation > No Geolocation
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2010, 01:14:00 AM »
It's also showing me in London.   ???
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