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New Techniques Can Track Net Location Within 690 Metres

 7:02 am on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

New Techniques Can Track Net Location Within 690 Metres [newscientist.com]
The new method zooms in through three stages to locate a target computer. 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 kilometres.

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. The result can never be entirely accurate, but it's much better than trying to determine a location by converting the initial delay into a distance or the next best IP-based method. On average their method gets to within 690 metres of the target and can be as close as 100 metres – good enough to identify the target computer's location to within a few streets.

Very interesting.
This could be good for local advertising.



 10:10 am on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Very annoying. I have to spend 15 extra EUR every month for reliable VPN service only to protect my privacy. You can call me paranoid but I KNOW they are after me...


 12:33 pm on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I KNOW they are after me...

They were after you before the internet. Now they're sitting in front staring you right in the face. :)


 12:46 pm on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seen this in action already over the last 3 months or so ..have my village of 2000 inhabitants ID'd regularly in page ads ..as in "you are live in aabbccxx if you need a plumber , want a date in aabbccxx" etc..we have one dslam covers everyone connected ..4 ISPs cover the area from it .


 3:15 pm on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Did they mention why they are expending so many resources to geo-locate a user to such an extreme degree? What if the user doesn't want someone to know exactly where they are to within meters? Tracking is an invasion of privacy.


 8:05 pm on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you are using Firefox, block Google from spying on you.

By default, Firefox uses Google Location Services to determine your location by sending:

your computer’s IP address,
information about the nearby wireless access points, and
a random client identifier, which is assigned by Google, that expires every 2 weeks.

Disable your data using about:config

1) geo.wifi.url
2) geo.enabled


 8:46 pm on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

These are ad companies doing this independently when serving ads on website pages ,the instances I have seen ..not Google ..the ads do not come from any of their networks.

creative craig

 10:16 pm on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

This could be good for local advertising

Nothing good about this!


 10:56 pm on Apr 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is nothing new. The technology has been around for awhile in various forms. What's new is that people are looking at it again because there is finally some interest in this data. I have news for Mr. Yang. They are too late to make money with this, others have beat them.

What's driving this interest now, in large part, is a growing market for targeting. Get ready to hear the typical internet hype that the market for this data has grown by "200 percent" or something. That's from almost nothing, however. But, still, it's a real market.

Much of the interest in geo-location is because all of the lower hanging fruit on the web has been taken, so this is looking more attractive now. And social services such as Facebook as such are making people aware of it as well, but not as much as you might assume. But, mostly it's because web marketing has come, finally, to Main Street. It's a huge ad market, but it's near impossible to sell. Still, people are going to try.

But, from what I see, local as well as national politics are also keen on this now. (You keep hearing now the campaigns are all digital and such. As most people here have likely figured out, that's laughable for 90 percent of the elections.) As you know, there is big money in politics. And, if you haven't heard it before, allow me to tell you: All politics is local. Thus, a market.

As far as this meaning it's time to start getting paranoid...Gimme a break. It has been a long time since there was any meaningful privacy on the web and it has been clear from the beginning that it was going to get worse, not better, as time went on.


 2:53 pm on Apr 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just like the US GPS satellites in the past (degraded service). I'll have to add a random packet delay.

He's here, he's there, he's everywhere. So Beware!


 3:02 pm on Apr 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Where to buy this technique?

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