Wifi Location Tracking is killing Privacy

<tinfoil hat>

When Google’s “streetview cars” roamed around the world, they were performing wifi scans of their surrounding areas. By mapping the MAC address of your location to the van’s GPS coordinates, they built a map of locations that can accurately find your location, just by knowing the wifi router you’re connected to.

Google claimed this was “by accident”, and many countries objected to the collection of the data and the invasion of privacy.

As of 2010, Google had collected 600 gigabytes of data from over 30 nations. That list is now growing, as each new Android phone that gets purchased has the built-in ability to transfer locations of wireless networks to and from Google’s servers, to help aid in location services on the phone. The unfortunate part is even if you aren’t using these services, Google is still collecting this data via your phone.

So who has your wifi router’s location?

Continue reading Wifi Location Tracking is killing Privacy

Firefox Is BFFs with Google

I recently switched back to Firefox from Chrome, and tried to change the default search engine used in the omnibar. It turns out you need to do all of these steps below to change that search engine. Most Firefox users won’t ever switch this because it’s not a simple option to find.

  1. Type “about:config” in Firefox Address bar. Press enter.
  2. Find “keyword.URL.” Right-click and click Modify.
  3. Enter the specific URL for the search engine you want to change it to:

Google: http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&q=
Bing Search: http://www.bing.com/search?q=
Yahoo Search: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=

How many basic web users will change this in Firefox? Slim to none. It’s a shame Firefox doesn’t give you an easy way to switch this.