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Cellphones Advertising Google Patents Privacy

Google Deducing Wireless Location Data 90

Posted by timothy
from the peekaboo-the-van-sees-you dept.
bizwriter writes "When it comes to knowing where wireless users are, the carriers have had a lock on the data. But a patent application shows that Google is trying to deduce the information based on packet headers and estimated transmission rates. This would let it walk right around carriers and become another source of location data to advertisers."
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Google Deducing Wireless Location Data

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  • Amazing Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechForensics (944258) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:25PM (#30959362) Homepage Journal

    You gotta admire Google. They are so endlessly, avidly proliferating themselves. If they ever turn evil we could be in a lot of trouble.

  • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:29PM (#30959380) Homepage

    If the carriers are "jealously guarding" their location data, how come every time I pull up Google Maps on my non-GPS BlackBerry it can figure out where I am to within a block or so? Either this patent is for a technology Google had figured out a long time ago, or else the carriers aren't as worried about having "a lock" on this data as TFA makes it sound.

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:35PM (#30959406) Journal

    If they ever turn evil we could be in a lot of trouble.

    If? [slashdot.org]

  • by sharkbiter (266775) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:45PM (#30959454)

    With all due respect, the carriers have enough on their hands currently to not bother with this. Unless the priority of the information becomes tantamount, in which case we would see a scenario like "Gee that's a nice geo loco information gathering program you've got there. A shame something might happen to it".

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Andorin (1624303) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:50PM (#30959480)
    That article was written four years ago, and apparently Google's stance towards China has changed since then, what with the recent hacking. You might want to find a better example of Google being evil.
  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:07AM (#30959568) Journal

    It was just an example, the first one I could find. Google has been cooperating with the Chinese govt. in terms of censoring their results since 2006. Google only very recently showed their unwillingness to continue censoring their results after the infamous hack on Google's operations. There isn't any evidence that Google did this for anything other than selfish reasons.

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:34AM (#30959696) Journal

    Google has a legal duty to do not what is morally right, but what is in their shareholder's interest

    I *know* that I'm going to be burning some karma here but to me, "the shareholders made them do it" isn't an excuse for violating human rights.

    Google figured that now would be their best time to speak out against it and have the maximum impact.

    They were just hacked and at the time, it was believed to be the work of Chinese hackers. This I suspect had a lot to do with why Google threatened to pull out of China and stop cooperating with the Chinese govt. In any case, I believe that my original point still stands; Google may have not broken any laws by participating in censorship in China but that does not mean they aren't evil. Willingly abiding by evil laws is evil in of its self.

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:49AM (#30959752) Journal

    Freedom of speech. Governments should never be given an inherent right to censor speech of individuals nor the private sector in general.

  • Re:Amazing Google (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:15AM (#30959854)

    You gotta admire Google. They are so endlessly, avidly proliferating themselves. If they ever turn evil we could be in a lot of trouble.

    If they turn evil? What do you think they're doing with all the search data they're gathering?

  • by GrantRobertson (973370) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:24AM (#30959882) Homepage Journal

    Modifying DNS in the way they are requesting could be used - along with the technologies mentioned in this article - to determine or narrow down location information even on connections that aren't going to Google's servers. Thus allowing Google to track location information on everyone in the world all the time. That would be very valuable information to Google even if it were not as accurate as GPS, or as specific as a whole IP address, and even if it were in aggregate form.

    The more information they can glom together the better for them and potentially worse for us in the long run. Especially when they redefine "evil" to mean "anything that doesn't help us make money."

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