Saturday, January 17, 2009

Frightening? Geolocation

Two years ago I was working on VoIP emergency calls and how to determine the location of the caller. With VoIP the problem is equal to determine the location of an IP connected device. The security and privacy issues with this are "tricky".
Last week I played with the new W3C geolocation API draft and Mozilla's GEODE Firefox extension.

Today I restarted my "playground"-laptop and Firefox was restarted and Aza Raskin's geolocation demo site was displayed. I was baffled that the location displayed was my old(!) home address. But then I thought: "Somebody connected my WLAN-router to my old address" and that is why this location gets displayed. Now, three hours later, I wanted to power-off the laptop but reloaded the demo site. INTERESTINGLY, now my new and correct address is displayed. That is frightening. I am now living outside Berlin "in the woods" between Berlin and Potsam but nevertheless there is a connection between my WLAN or my neighbors WLAN to this location. I am not sure whether I want my location resolved by a server in ... whereever. Well, I don't have to use the GEODE extension and the loki.dll that is used by GEODE. Do I trust Skyhook who build loki? Hm, although my G1 and the iPhone too might use WLAN-location but I prefer GPS. With GPS my WLAN environment is not send around the world.

Nevertheless I might write a geolocation provider for Firefox 3.1 which has W3C geolocation support build-in. Maybe that extension (IdP) will use geolocation Information Cards to choose which claims (exact-location, neighborhood, city, ...) to reveal to the RP.

No comments: