What is my location?

July 25, 2015 at 20:09:29
Specs: Win 7
The current weekly poll question is about Google maps tracking the
locations of users with portable devices. I don't have any such device,
but I'm curious whether Google (or anyone else) can guess my zip code,
and possibly even my address. How can I test that?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
July 25, 2015 at 22:08:52
https://geoiptool.com/ (This is actually the method used by Google if you searched for "restaurants near me" right now.)

There's also other, more social clues. For instance, a person's place of work and its surroundings will typically be the number one focus in a location-based search (ie stores near me). Number two is their home. It gets a lot more in depth than that; the most famous instance is probably the time Target sent a teenager coupons for baby supplies, and her father blew up at the (ultimately correct, to his chagrin) implications. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmir...

As it stands, I'm not sure you can discover what companies know about you without getting your hands on the profile data itself.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#2
July 25, 2015 at 22:47:44
This website is on a google account so google will definitely know your IP address and as such knows the rest if they want to.
If you use a proxy server (somehere in North Korea ;-) ) it will make it more difficult to trace the original IP address.

message edited by sluc


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#3
July 25, 2015 at 23:33:11
Those devices that can precisely show a persons movements are usually on an Android device that is always logged into Google.

I tried it on my partners Galaxy note x and because she doesn't log in its not saved under her profile.

This isn't to say that Google (or any other tech provider and ISP) doesn't log this information however. Pretty much any smart device can report its users movements back to base whether or not you allow it.

As sluc says you can use a VPN to mask your movements and it does work to a degree, but the problem is the cellular tower will always log your information request (paired with the devices MAC address) and make you traceable no matter what. Even with a dumb phone. That information just isn't accessible to any odd Joe.

In so far as preventing your device from keeping that log you can switch off location services or not allow Google to record that information on your device.


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#4
July 26, 2015 at 00:45:13
Do you have a wireless home network? If so then your location is tracked pretty accurately.

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#5
July 26, 2015 at 16:00:18
I do not have a wireless home network. Although I do have the
hardware for one attached to the computer, it is turned off, since
I don't have any other devices that could use it.

What I *do* have, though, is a 4G wireless connection to the
Internet, so Google does get my zip code correct. When I had
only a dial-up connection (until 14 months ago), whatever was
reading my location was reporting the zip code of my ISP.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#6
August 2, 2015 at 11:15:18
I personally avoid being located and erase anything related to that type of search. Disable anything I can on being found. And Google still has a. Good lead on my in tress and location.

::mike


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#7
August 21, 2015 at 21:52:32
Unfortunately in the day and age we live in, the only way to truely ensure your "privacy is protected" when it comes to a smartphone is to pull the battery out. Personally. my attitude is that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about, that is how I live my life.

P.S. I am not implying anything, just giving my personal opinion. That is all.


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