Disabling location-awareness


Google Streetview Car in Zurich/Switzerland
Photo: Natalie Madani (Some rights reserved)

It seems that every Internet company is jumping on the geo-location train now. OK, there was a fair bit of discussion over here in Germany about the perceived privacy intrusion by the Google spycars that capture both photos and WLAN information. It turned out that the Germans have begun to dislike the Orwellian “Do no evil” company from California. But also the new equally silly “Places” feature on Facebook seems to be made with those in mind who always wanted to become the obidient, fully transparent citizen. If however, you think that nobody except your closest friends should know where you are and what you do (like me), then you need to be aware of this development – and make a couple of changes.

Thanks to the always stunning Register, I actually realized that Firefox has implemented a feature called “Location-Aware Browsing”. Read all about it at the official Mozilla site. The most important item is the last one, “How do I turn off Location-Aware Browsing permanently?” I followed the steps to disable the feature permanently, and guess what? It was turned on by default. True, Location-Aware Browsing (apparently) will ask for permission before sending out location information, but the fact that the feature was enabled by default still puzzles me. (Further tips for setting up Firefox to reveal less information about you can be found here.)

And, those folks over at Facebook again managed to mess up with the privacy settings. Read all about it at The Register. An easy pictorial guide on how to disable this newest “feature” can be found at The Business Insider.

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