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Privacy Security The Internet

Involuntary Geolocation To Within One Kilometer 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the proxy-stock-rising dept.
Schneier's blog tips an article about research into geolocation that can track down a computer's location from its IP address to within 690 meters on average without voluntary disclosure from the target. Quoting: "The first stage measures the time it takes to send a data packet to the target and converts it into a distance – a common geolocation technique that narrows the target's possible location to a radius of around 200 kilometers. Wang and colleagues then send data packets to the known Google Maps landmark servers in this large area to find which routers they pass through. When a landmark machine and the target computer have shared a router, the researchers can compare how long a packet takes to reach each machine from the router; converted into an estimate of distance, this time difference narrows the search down further. 'We shrink the size of the area where the target potentially is,' explains Wang. Finally, they repeat the landmark search at this more fine-grained level: comparing delay times once more, they establish which landmark server is closest to the target."
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Involuntary Geolocation To Within One Kilometer

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  • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Friday April 08, 2011 @09:39AM (#35756492)
    My internet is just a series of tubes, so all you need to do is measure the distance the hamster travels in the tube. Simple.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:13AM (#35756860)

    What is a Google Landmark Server?

    Always on the lookout for more places to put their server farms, Google has a deal with the National Park Service to rent out unused space in national landmarks. For example, the Washington Monument is hundreds of feet tall, but it has almost no windows. It would be a waste not to fill up the lower floors with server racks. The same goes for other buildings that have no other practical function, such as the Lincoln Memorial and Grant's Tomb.

    Unfortunately however, unless a deal is reached within the next few hours, all those servers will probably have to go offline tonight at midnight.

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.