Location Services Confusion...any thoughts?

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by secondcup, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. secondcup macrumors member

    secondcup

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    #1
    I've read a bit on the forum about how the iPod Touch finds your location (based on available WiFi signals). Here's the strange thing, it works great for me when I'm anywhere BUT home. When I'm at my house, all the apps that use location services (like Google maps etc.), think I'm at an apartment that I USED to live in, about 6 miles from my actual location.

    I can't figure this one out. Is there some old registration data in an Apple database somewhere that it's getting this info from?
     
  2. bndoarn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    #2
    email skyhook wireless about. i had the same problem (kind of). at my house it showed a location 21.6 miles away (although i did not used to live there). i emailed them last week and told them my address and the address that was showing up and they asked me to give them the MAC address for all of the MAC address' surrounding my house. after i did this they said to wait a few weeks and it should work. today, it just started working fine and it shows up at the right location.

    email address: support@skyhookwireless.com
     
  3. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #3
    And that ensures that I'll waste a few minutes salting their database with misinformation about my own router(s).

    By all means subscribe your own router's MAC, but when neighbors are being silently location tagged by skyhook, that's a privacy issue.
     
  4. secondcup thread starter macrumors member

    secondcup

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    #4
    Thanks for the info everyone!

    This is fascinating to me. If my location is linked to my router...I'm still at a loss as to why it pinpoints my OLD address. My router and iPod Touch are all new since I moved. Very strange...
     
  5. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #5
    Basically it's the router that is being identified by skyhook.

    The idea being that if there are any wireless networks near you, regardless of whether you're actually connected to them, the iphone/ipod can send their MAC addresses (a kind of unique identifier) to skyhook who correlate those addresses with a geographic database that they maintain.

    Once skyhook know where your router is physically located, they can use that information to orientate devices that can see your router.
     
  6. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    #6
    Another tactic that Skyhook uses, is to drive a fleet of trucks down the all the navigable streets of major markets, scanning for all the WiFi access points along the way. They record everything they find in their database. This is somewhat akin to what Google does with its Street View feature.

    It's not a privacy concern, because your equipment is actively broadcasting this information. That is, you're knowingly and willingly placing it into public view. If you don't want this information being made public, then you should be taking steps to prevent it from crossing outside your private property's boundaries. Note that the MAC address is always openly broadcast, free and clear, as part of every WiFi packet, even if the actual data being carried over the WiFi signal is encrypted.
     
  7. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #7
    In an ideal world I could possibly persuade my router to respect my property lines, but I've yet to find a really effective way of communicating my desires to it on that front.

    I'm well aware of that.

    The distinction is the same a given website delivering a cookie, or an embedded 3rd party site (doubleclick for example) delivering a cookie. In the former, one site knows if an anonymous reader has returned. In the later, another site, and one I didn't choose to do business with, knows most to all of the sites I've visited, and can easily do enough data-mining to come close to a good identification match.

    I don't care that people outside my house know what my MAC address (currently) is, I do care that there is a database that can be used by any website anywhere to tie my current IP (via MAC) to a physical location.
     
  8. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    #8
    :(
    Hmmmm...

    Maybe encase your home in a Faraday cage?
    ;)
     
  9. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #9
    Yeah, but then when Comcast drop the ball, I wouldn't be able to leech off the local school.

    ;)
     
  10. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #10
    That or get a bunch of old microwave doors and put them together in front of your house....that's allot of microwave doors though....
     

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