[tor-talk] Can Google location system track TOR users?

Sukhoi sukhoi47 at gmx.net
Fri Nov 15 02:06:42 UTC 2013


I am surprised how google maps was able to track my location, with few 
meters of error, by using the "Share Location" feature.

It is not clear how they are tracking the location with such accuracy. 
For sure is not using the IP.
I guess they are crossing the information about the SSID wireless 
networks available near-by my location, which physical location was 
collected by google street view, with the wireless networks SSID my 
computer is able to "see". My own internet wireless connection is very 
new and was not installed when google street view did the survey on my 
city, so they must to be using the networks near-by. Maybe they are 
using the wireless signal intensity to triangulate my position, 
improving the accuracy.

I did some tests. The tracking location was very accurate on Firefox 25, 
with an error of few meters, but Firefox 16 was able to identify just my 
city, with an error over 20 Kilometers. This means that the tracking is 
a feature built-in the browser, probably submitting the required 
information to the google geo-location servers, and is able to by-pass 
tricks like set VPN to mask the IP.
I guess the tracking system is submitting to google servers other 
information as well, as the MAC address, that may be used to identify 
the user across different location and internet access points.

Firefox is developed by Mozilla. Google "donates" 90% of the Mozilla 
Foundation funds. Who pays is the patron and give the orders. Google's 
core business is track people and sell the information to governments.
Is there any chance to have in Firefox a "hidden" tracking that may 
compromise TOR?


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