We have talked a lot about how to track a mobile devices’s location already, but what you may not know, when your browse the internet, the websites you viewed could track your location as well.
People who use Google Maps for mobile know it can determine your approximate location, based on which it will calculate the route to your destination. As a matter of fact, Google brought it to PC a few years ago. If you visit their online mapping service, a blue button shows in the top left corner of the map. If you click on it, it will show a blue circle on your location on the map.
When I click on My Location button, Firefox alerts “maps.google.com wants to know your location”, while you have four options, Show location, Always show, Never show, Not show. If you select Show location, it will bring you to your location on the map.
By visiting the Firefox’s help about Geo-location, I come to know how it works:
Type about:config in your browser window and you know that they pass the information (MAC address, signal strength etc) to Google location server http://www.google.com/loc/json, which will return your location.
If you connect your laptop to the Internet using DSL, it may only show your city because it uses your IP to query your location. But if you are connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, the accuracy could come to a few meters. In my case, unfortunately it placed my circle on another street which is a few miles away. I use ADSL, you may guess correct.
I did not try IE, Google Chrome, if you are interested, it may be worthwhile to give them a shot.
When you trace your friends or family member, you need to install mobile tracing apps onto their phones, unless you are the police and could gain access to mobile operators network and location database. So it’s unlikely you will be tracked by your handset. But if you can be easily tracked when you use a PC to visit various website, then can obtain your location information easily (Yes I know where you are and you are under arrest :-)).
Fortunately, we still have privacy. You can keep them away from your personal information before they even try it.