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Mozilla Technology

Mozilla Location Service: Geolocation Lookups From Cell Towers and WiFi Data 46

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-in-the-world dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today launched an experimental pilot project called Mozilla Location Service. The organization explains its goal is to provide geolocation lookups based on publicly observable cell tower and WiFi access point information. Mozilla admits that many commercial services already exist in this space, but it wants to provide a public one. The company points out there isn't a single 'large' public service that provides this data, which is becoming increasingly important when building various parts of the mobile ecosystem."
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Mozilla Location Service: Geolocation Lookups From Cell Towers and WiFi Data

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  • Hey Mozilla ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Monday October 28, 2013 @03:16PM (#45262277) Homepage

    How about you spend some time working on stuff which protects our identity and privacy instead of rolling over and giving the advertisers what they want?

    I have no interest in a location service, so it damned well better be something which is easily disabled.

  • Re:Hey Mozilla ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Monday October 28, 2013 @03:25PM (#45262357)

    I have no interest in a location service, so it damned well better be something which is easily disabled.

    Noted. ...but you're the product, not the consumer, so good luck with that.

    It's an unpopular opinion, but I went "all in" on Google a while back. I log into my browser, I log into my phone, I let them see my documents, I let them know my location. Some number of "partner" companies know an awful lot about me. ...and in return I get pretty good information from Google in real time (or even in "precog" in Now) that I find helpful. ...and I get that information on a from-Google HTC one running stock Android.

  • Re:Hey Mozilla ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Monday October 28, 2013 @03:35PM (#45262441)

    So you didn't read TFA ? (Of course not).

    It is trying to build a public (or so it says) database of where there is cell towers and or wifi, all geolocated by GPS.

    Skyhook [skyhookwireless.com] already has their database, mostly of wifi addresses volunteered.
    Google has their database, which they jump started with Street View cars, but now keep up to date with a bazillion android phones running around.
    WiggleWIFI [wigle.net] has their wifi only database, collected by volunteers, which is public and massive, but not all that usable, although you can probably zoom into your neighborhood and find Wifi routers by the dozen.

    But this database is supposed to be available publicly, and will know that if you are connected to Cell Tower XYZ, and your phone can see tower RWC, then you must be located in this particular grid square. Nobody but the cell companies have that data.

    This project aims at collecting those tower locations, and wifi locations.

    If you don't want to participate, then don't install the app on your smartphone.

    But be aware the maps exist already, in a number of disjoint databases. This one hopes to make it a joint one, and a public one. They are late to the party, but at least they claim it will be public. Its not clear just how public, but hinted at is the ability for your laptop, or phone, to pin point its location without a clear view of the sky (no GPS) simply by virtue of what router you are talking to. There isn't a hint about feeding advertisers.

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