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How is Google tracking my router?
From one country to another?
coopster

WebmasterWorld Administrator coopster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 10:24 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Scenario:
Two different routers are being used in the United States, one in Wisconsin, one in South Dakota. Absolutely zero details regarding address or location are entered into the router settings. Next, both routers are disconnected and transported to a different country (different continent) where each is installed in different locations on different networks, miles apart. They are attached to a new network with two new and completely different Internet Service Providers.

I visit one of the networks and add the wireless connection to an Android phone which has never been connected via this router. Never. The weather app immediately brings up the weather in South Dakota for the city in which the router was originally located. What? So I check the GPS, just to see if it works in this country outside of the USA away from the normal cellular service provider (cellular service is disabled). WiFi is still enabled. Google Maps pulls the coordinates for the precise address location of the router before it was disconnected and moved from the United States in South Dakota!

I disconnect the Android from the WiFi and the next day attach the device to the other network that is using the other router and the same exact results, the GPS thinks I am at the exact street address location in Wisconsin where the router was first installed. Correction, the WiFi thinks it is at that location ... there is no way it could be running off GPS at this point, it has to be WiFi.

I am assuming that the original ISP is selling/pushing information to Google but how is this hardware being tracked? It can't be MAC address, is it?

 

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 10:51 pm on Apr 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

It can't be MAC address, is it?

That was my first guess, but I don't have the technical details for a definite answer.

My other guess would be that it has something to do with the tracking chip secretly implanted under your skin by Google operatives...

phranque

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 12:01 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google Street View logging MAC Addresses - And Sniffing Data:
http://www.webmasterworld.com/goog/4121526.htm [webmasterworld.com]
New Techniques Can Track Net Location Within 690 Metres:
http://www.webmasterworld.com/webmaster/4294528.htm [webmasterworld.com]

lammert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 12:36 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

MAC address seems the most logical. But it is strange that Google doesn't use the totally different route to the routers as a signal to reset the position and calculate a new location. Maybe you should switch on the GPS for a short period and see if Google updated the router location after the GPS has been switched off again. In that case they are using temporary GPS positions as calibration values for the router location.

I am assuming that the original ISP is selling/pushing information to Google

I don't think it is a commercial deal. I am experiencing the same type of GPS-less Android location tracking in Kazakhstan and I am quite sure that the state-owned telephone company here doesn't have any commercial agreements with Google on this issue.

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 12:39 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

ewwwwwwwwwww, could this be proof they really are using that data?

i see no reason in the world anything should be stored in your ROUTER to cause such things, its just a router, just moving data.

Your router has a MAC for its wifi radios, and a MAC for its WAN port...but the WAN port is behind your ISP's modem...sooo nothing there, only WIFI radios.

this did stand out in the linked thread

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

your computerís 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

lammert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 12:56 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi J_RaD,

If it was the technique described in that linked thread, coopster's routers would be positioned in the new country. But instead Google still thinks that the routers are in the US, in their original location. That is an indication that something fixed to the router is causing the positioning, rather than network delay time calculation what that thread is talking about. MAC address seems the most logical choice.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 1:32 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Normally the ISP routers should be dropping your MAC address but passing on your IP...But maybe routers now have a little "extra" that "they" don't tell us about ?

How old are these boxes ?

aside.I 'm now getting ads not from G but from adnxs.com that know where I am to within 400 meters..they were accurate to within 600 a couple of weeks ago ..and last year it was one or two kliks.

this keeps up we are going to wake up one day to "knock knock" on the screen ..and Carrie-Anne Moss ..Hhhhmmm ..might not be so bad ..;-)

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 10:24 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)


If it was the technique described in that linked thread, coopster's routers would be positioned in the new country.



a random client identifier, which is assigned by Google, that expires every 2 weeks.


perhaps it simply hasn't expired and updated yet?



MAC address seems the most logical choice.


but google never sees your routers MAC, it only sees the MAC and IP to the ISP's equipment. ((correction it never sees your ISP's MAC))


But maybe routers now have a little "extra" that "they" don't tell us about ?

this would be no good....no reason to be forwarding on MAC addresses.

----> actually after dusting my IP books off... data Link frames do not cross the boundaries of a local network..

so there is no way his LAN routers MAC is being passed to the internet, non-routable info.

coopster

WebmasterWorld Administrator coopster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 1:49 am on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not using the Firefox browser on the Android to gain access. I'm not even opening the browser yet, merely using the Android OS and watching the weather app. It wasn't until after I noticed the weather app showing the city that I opened a browser.

And yes, the router was behind a modem in the U.S. But the modem is still back in the U.S. You know, I have Wireshark loaded but didn't think of tracing yet. I'll give that a run to see what I can see next, if anything.

LIA, there's no chip under my skin ... but if that's what it takes to get Carrie-Anne Moss to show up ... :P

lammert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 3:58 am on Apr 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

There is no need for the MAC address to be propagated in the header of a network packet. The Android weather application sees the MAC address of the router and is therefore able to send it as data to the weather server.

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 6:09 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)


There is no need for the MAC address to be propagated in the header of a network packet. The Android weather application sees the MAC address of the router and is therefore able to send it as data to the weather server.


No, remember the OSI layers.

lammert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 7:47 pm on Apr 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

I remember the OSI layers, but we are not talking about a full OSI separated model on Android. Every App can use the WifiManager getScanResults() method to return the latest result of the Wifi network scan. This returns a list with the properties of the found access points which can be traversed. One of the fields for each scan entry is BSSID, which is the MAC address of that access point and another field is the signal level.

The Android weather App can paste the BSSID field in a data packet, for example together with GPS data if it is available and send it to the weather server. The weather server will then send data back based on the GPS information if it is available, or based on the MAC address if no GPS information is passed. If a GPS and MAC address are passed, the weather server updates the MAC address location based on the GPS info.

The nice thing of the method described above is that the Android doesn't even have to authenticate successfully with the access point to obtain the BSSID/MAC address. Therefore every Wifi access point in the neighborhood can be used to very accurately locate your Android device, as long as the physical location of that Wifi router is known. If more Wifi access points are seen, a calculation on the signal strengths of each individual connection may give an even more accurate positioning than "in the reach of access point A".

The other side of Android not having to authenticate with the Wifi access point is that any Android in the neigborhood of a Wifi access point can accurately update the location of that Wifi access point if the GPS on that Android device is enabled and the weather application is running. The Android of your neighbor can do that, or even the Android device of a stranger who just walked in your street and picked up the Wifi signal.

Remember all the buzz around Google's Street View cars also capturing data packets from Wifi routers in the areas they were capturing pictures? They are now replaced by walking capturing devices.

coopster

WebmasterWorld Administrator coopster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 6:19 pm on Apr 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

The only thing is, the router MAC address is still associated with the last known street location, which is now very stale data.

I pulled up the last known location on the Wisconsin router and see Street View data. Not in the South Dakota router though.

ron15



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 6:25 pm on Apr 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

In recent news, its been reported that Android phones report up to Google servers with location data. Within the data packets, according the the reports, they also send WIFI router information within the range of the Android phone. Do you have an Android phone?

coopster

WebmasterWorld Administrator coopster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 4:03 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, from the first post (my emphasis added) ...

I visit one of the networks and add the wireless connection to an Android phone which has never been connected via this router.


I realize that the MAC address is the key here. The responses by lammert in this thread seem to have nailed it, including the follow up question regarding why Google isn't recalculating the router location or at least resetting it to an Unknown location if it cannot determine it. It is serving up incorrect content (wrong weather for city) from stale data (MAC address of router determined by original discovery location).

I did find a couple of Google discussions that provide a little more insight and the first even describes why my Android is not updating the location, I have security settings tightened down "too much" ...

[google.com...]
[groups.google.com...]

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 3:00 pm on Apr 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

yikes, i can't believe all of those people in the goog discussions trying to willingly give away and update their MAC's with goog.

i'd say your security settings are in just the right place coopster! :-)

Maurice



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 11:25 am on May 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

ips are handed out on a geo basis in the stats so google have a mapping of your routers wan interface MAC to IP which they think is still valid is my guess - they probaly dont update the ip - MAC data that often routers dont tend to move around that much.

@J_RaD um you cant hide an ip's MAC address its how ethernet works :-)

Google wil bable to see which AS (autonomous system) you belong to which also they probaly have a geo location for that

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 2:22 pm on Jun 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

im not saying its hidden, im just saying it the LAN macs shouldn't be roaming to the WAN side of things...but as lammert said the program is doing the work.

amankumar



 
Msg#: 4298576 posted 4:58 am on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

router are tracking the google because router are weak signal
convert to strong signal.

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