Windows 10: Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF...

Discus and support Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF... in Browsers and Email to solve the problem; Some oddities between Edge and Firefox on Windows 10, just curious why... Edge and Firefox 39 on Windows 10, with physical locations disabled in OS... Discussion in 'Browsers and Email' started by Cr00zng, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. Cr00zng Win User

    Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF...


    Some oddities between Edge and Firefox on Windows 10, just curious why...

    Edge and Firefox 39 on Windows 10, with physical locations disabled in OS and browsers. In both browser, DDG is my default search engine.

    After typing in "weather" at duckduckgo.com, Edge shows this result:


    Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF... [​IMG]


    The link circled on top right in red is displayed on the bottom left with "close enough" actual GPS location of my computer, when the mouse pointer is placed over it. The weather images, such as "Right now", "Today", etc., are hyperlinked to the same site, but the links does not show on the bottom left.

    The "close enough" is pretty close, within 3-4 miles to the actual location of the computer. This is a desktop PC with Ethernet connection only, no wireless.

    Doing the same search in Firefox, results in this:


    Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF... [​IMG]


    There's no link to the forecast.io site in the search results. Copy/pasting the Forecast link into Firefox pups up a windows, asking if I'd want to share the location of my computer with forecast.io site. After declining the offer, the site displays the forecast in a different state about 60 miles away from my computer.

    Couple of questions...

    How does Edge get to display the forecast.io as the first search result with GPS coordinates of my computer? And yes, I am aware that this site has apps for all major portable devices, including windows. That does not explain the different search results in the two browsers with the same search engine.

    Why doesn't Edge block access to location when it is specified not to share it? Maybe there's a configuration in Edge and/or Windows that I've missed; it's possible, but doubtful...

    :)
     
    Cr00zng, Jul 24, 2015
    #1
  2. AWWillis Win User

    If I can't stop Cortana then can I make it launch Fire Fox

    Maybe I'm just tired of change but I can't get my head round edge.

    If I look for help Cortana throws up loads of unrelated answers for every OS in Edge.

    I then fire up FF and put the query in again through Google.

    It would be a lot faster if I could launch FF from Cortana, and if Cortana only looked for Win10 solutions in FF using Google.

    Can this be done?

    Thanks

    A
     
    AWWillis, Jul 24, 2015
    #2
  3. AWWillis Win User
    If I can't stop Cortana then can I make it launch Fire Fox

    I am not blessed with Windows 10 pro.

    In FF are you talking about this sort of setting

    Sorry the clip won't stick in this doc, but FF is set to the default and uses Google

    Win 10 ignores all that and cortana uses edge/bing

    A
     
    AWWillis, Jul 24, 2015
    #3
  4. Fafhrd Win User

    Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF...

    The WWW consortium has a Geolocation API - here's the specification: Geolocation API Specification
    Here's an excerpt:

    "The Geolocation API defines a high-level interface to location information associated only with the device hosting the implementation, such as latitude and longitude. The API itself is agnostic of the underlying location information sources. Common sources of location information include Global Positioning System (GPS) and location inferred from network signals such as IP address, RFID, WiFi and Bluetooth MAC addresses, and GSM/CDMA cell IDs, as well as user input. No guarantee is given that the API returns the device's actual location."

    I had a discussion a little while back with BunnyJ starting here: Solved How to activate WIn10 Build 10240 CLean Install - Page 3 - Windows 10 Forums
    continued here:
    Solved How to activate WIn10 Build 10240 CLean Install - Page 4 - Windows 10 Forums
    here:
    Solved How to activate WIn10 Build 10240 CLean Install - Page 4 - Windows 10 Forums
    and here:
    Solved How to activate WIn10 Build 10240 CLean Install - Page 4 - Windows 10 Forums

    User input:
    So if you have ever disclosed Postal address or code or telephone numbers (did you ever use a dial-up modem or Fax on your PC at this location?) or ADSL or cable modem, or your ISP has a street cabinet distribution box nearby, your IP address (and IP address history) may may locate you to from within a few hundred metres to spot on your actual location.

    Otherwise IP address may take your location only as near as the ISP router that serves your actual IP address, and every webpage you visit can see that, and locate you perhaps to 60-odd miles away from your home at your ISPs server farm.
    Speedtest and ISP enquiries sites identify your current ISP, and may garner your postal code and/or telephone number to identify eligibility for transfer to their services, and to offer customised, better deals than the plan you are using already.

    GPS from handhelds and mobiles, Wifi and Bluetooth MAC mapping, streaming video to tv, online console gaming, mobile cellphone triangulation to nearby masts can locate your IP address within metres.

    Then there is your timezone and country, language spoken. for a much more general location.
     
    Fafhrd, Jul 27, 2015
    #4
  5. Cr00zng Win User
    @Fafhrd.. This PC with W10 only had cable modem connection. Your explanation is plausible, but...

    Edge and Firefox return different search results for "weather", using DDG search engine. This certainly means that the forecast.io link did not originate from DDG.

    That leaves Windows 10 and Edge with the Bing integrated search engine that inserted the forecast.io link. Not only it inserted the link in to DDG search results, it also customized the link to my IP location. And that's despite disabling sharing the system/browser IP location.

    It's a "feature" that can be useful for some, but... It might not be far fetch that the organic looking forecast.io link is actually a paid ad by forecast.io...

    This is how Firefox handles location request, quote from my first port:

     
    Cr00zng, Jul 27, 2015
    #5
  6. Fafhrd Win User
    If you do a speedtest, OOKLA for instance it sees your IP, and reverse lookups to find your ISP - That's the nearest it can get, unless your ISP leaks other info or you have done in the past and google, or MS or Amazon or a multitude of commercial sites may have shared info such as history. Do you have any devices with wireless adapters, mobile, router or smart TV, laptop etc. at all? are they all locked down or can they be stumbled? Do they ever connect to your internet?

    It's not your Browser, it is your IP address that there is a database linked to.

    From 7forums:

    Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF... [​IMG]

    and

    Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF... [​IMG]
     
    Fafhrd, Jul 27, 2015
    #6
  7. Cr00zng Win User
    You're trying hard Fafhrd... *Smile

    Yes, most sites can easily find the name of the ISP for the IP address. That does not result in a close proximity to the actual location of the system, it's a simple ARIN WHOIS IP lookup.

    I've done number of GeoIP lookups at different sites with my system's public IP and all of them show location in other states, about 60 miles away.

    Even if you have valid points, they still don't explain why Edge shows different search results from Firefox? The most likely explanation to me is that Windows 10/Edge via Bing, or on their own, have more accurate location information and modify the search result to be displayed on the fly. And that despite setting the disable location sharing flag in W10 and Edge.

    And again, this does not happen with Firefox, even if the actual link to the forecast site entered in to the URL. In Firefox, when the location sharing is disable, it is disabled...
     
    Cr00zng, Jul 27, 2015
    #7
  8. Fafhrd Win User

    Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF...

    I guess you have a Microsoft account and a cellphone? Do you ever use that feature so that Microsoft can verify that it's you online by getting you to allow an action on your cell?
     
    Fafhrd, Jul 27, 2015
    #8
  9. Cr00zng Win User
    I do have a Windows 8 phone and an MS account, but what does it have to do with this?

    Shouldn't disabling the system/browser location sharing apply to Microsoft as well? *Wink*Wink*Wink
     
    Cr00zng, Jul 27, 2015
    #9
  10. Fafhrd Win User
    You seem to be in denial. In windows\System32 there is a geolocation.dll , and a geolocatorhelper.dll and a geocommon.dll.

    The W3C Geolocation API permits " location information associated only with the device hosting the implementation, such as latitude and longitude. The API itself is agnostic of the underlying location information sources. Common sources of location information include Global Positioning System (GPS) and location inferred from network signals such as IP address, RFID, WiFi and Bluetooth MAC addresses, and GSM/CDMA cell IDs, as well as user input. No guarantee is given that the API returns the device's actual location."

    Microsoft has a database(s) with your MSA, IP addresses, Machine code hashes of your PCs, Your Cellphone number, MAC, IP and GPS, your Microsoft products and licenses and certainly much more. Google and Apple have similar Information through their own systems and devices. Your devices have some access to this Data if you permit it and you allow it to be passed on to third parties like Firefox thus:

    Using geolocation

    and

    GPSd Put your GPS on the net!



    Of course your US and my UK Intelligence services tap into all of this, and even may share limited amounts of information

    It does not surprise me that MS Edge is leaky It certainly has memory leaks!
     
    Fafhrd, Jul 27, 2015
    #10
  11. Mystere Win User
    For me, both FF and Edge show the same weather page in your first picture (with location) (and IE for that matter).

    If you notice, the url's are not the same. Try copying the first URL into FF.

    As for your location, this information is taken from your IP address, which there are vast databases that contain IP address blocks. For instance, my IP seems to be in the database as being located in Augusta, GA but i'm in Minnesota. So there is nothing nefarious going on.
     
    Mystere, Jul 27, 2015
    #11
  12. Cr00zng Win User
    It does little good having these DLLs, if the system has no GPS. On my Windows phone, GPS is only enabled when I am in NYC or on the road, not around my computer. But I don't argue the fact that somewhere along the line, MS has recorded a close enough GPS coordinates for my system

    *Roflmao2*Roflmao2*Roflmao2

    It's not just leaky, despite the settings; evidently the setting does not apply to Microsoft. It's also changing the search result of duckduckgo.com based on the record that they've compiled about me/my system. In the meantime, Firefox honors your privacy settings as it should...
     
    Cr00zng, Jul 27, 2015
    #12
  13. Fafhrd Win User

    Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF...

    The Geolocation libraries phone home to MS. They conform to the API outlined above and will use all permissible location data.

    MS has a big SQL Server distributed DBS which has data about you and yours written into various tables including devices, IP addresses, various MAC addresses, Motherboard FCCA certificates, SLIC and UEFI data, Software and licensing states (activated or not! - I discovered recently), IMEI information, your mobile number, alternative email addresses, MSA , Store Purchase history, and so on. It checks back up on you on occasions, asking you to verify your Microsoft account - you may use an alternative email or your Windows ( Android or I-) phone, which also probably syncs to your MSA. You have a choice, except when you use a Windows phone. Your Photos may sync to your OneDrive too.
    You can see a little bit of it by visiting https://account.microsoft.com with your MSA as your logon, unless you already signed in to your live account.

    The GPS is not the only way to track a mobile phone.

    It triangulates between phone cells all the time, just to see which is the best network signal. The position of your phone at any time is stored in a database, and can be tracked forensically to show where your phone was, when switched on, at any time. The cell information tracks your phone, and the densest tracks identify where and when your phone was located.

    Sometimes (like, er, all the time in your and my parts of the world) your phone will be able to stumble upon signals from WiFi access points and hotspots, which broadcast their MAC and signal strength, identifying the location and this can be identified with data stored on yet another set of databases, despite the phone not actively using WiFi, it listens in case it needs to connect to it and for location data, which is passed back to combine and increase the precision with any GPS and cell position data it may have. It does not keep all this data, it phones home, and uploads it to the databases at intervals.

    When Google drove around your neighbourhood taking pictures of the streets and real estate, it was also recording WiFi signals and mapping them too. Google Gathered Public WiFi Data For Maps, Connecticut Attorney General Says

    Your ISP also maps all its hotspots, if you are still with Optimum: Optimum WiFi Hotspots Map| Optimum If you have moved on your current ISP does similar exercises for its customers, e.g. XFINITY WiFi Hotspot Finder perhaps. Even if there are not hotspots in the area most domestic and commercial wifi installations broadcast their BSSID information. Even the mass transit systems have Wifi don't they?

    Still not convinced? Oh well, I tried. *Smile

    If you try and log in from an unfamiliar system, you will usually be asked for verification. Even Yahoo does this. How do they know - well they don't, but they ask anyway if your location is not recorded on their Database.

    I'd agree with your statement about Firefox, but I can't say that duckduckgo is a favourite for me in terms of retrieval. I don't share quite the same Weltanschauung about security as you do. For instance, I cannot see the point in not sharing location data, when I want to know what an accurate weather forecast will be for me where I am, so long as the app will also forecast the weather for me tomorrow when I will be in London. If it's broken in the "on" position, that seems good to me.

    The Microsoft problem for you may have something to do with your IE 11 problem, or just incomplete registry entries/Missing Group Policy switches like the problem that broke Windows Photo Viewer for some: Is Windows Photo Viewer gone? - Windows 10 Forums It will be fixed in fairly quick order I imagine.

    What is worrying is that Organizational leaks due to some disgruntled employee / crazy person / freedom fighter /terrorist can happen, and even worse, data can be illicitly sold to some deep pocketed nation, or multinational organization, who can use the data, without the controls that we thought we once had. Then perhaps we shall all be compromised. However, in the end it is Microsoft's data and intellectual property, and not ours, even though it personally concerns you and me.
     
    Fafhrd, Jul 27, 2015
    #13
  14. Cr00zng Win User
    You didn't tell me anything so far that I didn't know. My point was that Microsoft gives the option to disable location sharing and they do not apply to themselves. And no, I don't use MS account to login to my computer, nor do i sign in to OneDrive. Your statements about Windows phone are incorrect...

    I am not convinced, but nice try... *Wink

    I understand your points, even if some of them not applicable in my case. The fact is that Microsoft changes the search results for another search engine, either as a "feature" or paid advertisement, despite the configuration explicitly stating that do not share my location information. Either don't give me the option to disable location sharing, or state that MS will share this information on any way it sees fit regardless of the settings.
     
    Cr00zng, Jul 27, 2015
    #14
  15. Mystere Win User
    You are jumping to the wrong conclusions. This has nothing to do with Microsoft. The web servers themselves know who you are by your IP address. That IP address can be looked up in IP-to-location databases, regardless of any settings in your OS. That is what most websites use to locate you.
     
    Mystere, Jul 27, 2015
    #15
Thema:

Detecting computer's location in Edge and FF...

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