Wow, ok, this is freaky.

New computer. Fedora Silverblue 36. Not signed into anything. Location services is on (using Mozilla location services). I’ve been living in Ireland now for 3+ years.

I open GNOME Maps app. I grant it location access. I press the “Go to current location” button.

It goes to the exact location of the home we had in Malmö, Sweden.

What. The. Fuck?

OK, so I have no idea how that’s possible. Mozilla must have somehow cached that location but how do they know it’s me?


Fucking hell, as some of you have pointed out in the comments, also, it’s tied to my router. I have the same router I had in Malmö. If this is not a GDPR violation, I have no idea what is.

So Mozilla – Defender of Privacy™ – is storing my location history, tied to my router, without ever having gotten consent from me to do so.

This is a fucking scandal.

@aral @mozilla is giving quite a few ~negative~ surprises lately.
What is happening?

@mihira @aral @mozilla

He he, even that mozilla fedi account you linked, is apparently listen-only. Maybe it scraped our info just now ;)

@mihira @aral @mozilla

* starting sentiment analysis

<grind, grind>

* BEEP. Not positive

* submit user profiles for auction


* buyer found, cash received

@aral when you broadcast your presence in public by connecting to the public internet ...

@aral interesting. I've seen this with my SSID in the past, similar country wandering as yourself.

As your SSID is broadcast publically, any drive-by devices (Google Map cars, or indeed any random mobile device that slurps location data) could pick this up and stash it in a public database, correlating it with the BSSID of the actual device that is sending it.

So why do you blame Mozilla for this, and not GNOME maps? Or indeed whatever company is hoovering up that data in the first place?

I know there's a lot to get angry in the world today. Mozilla is less worse than many others.

both have IRC and matrix chats to find out more info about how this happens.

I wonder if you disable geoclue in Fedora, and then re-try this with a fresh profile, does firefox etc find the correct physical location then?

Reading up on this is an absolute privacy rathole.

It looks like geoclue etc also support correlation of "nearby" devices, including cell towers. So, any other cellphone devices could be updating location data (Google Drive and Apple CarPlay for example, or TomTom apps) and filling the coffers of the geodata pirates.

@dch Right, I forgot about SSID location mapping... Wouldn't be surprised if Mozilla's geolocation database is way out of date in that regard.


It's kind of impossible to not have a location related to your wifi router, it doesn't even need your consent. I frequently gather and share nearby WiFi networks and radio cells with my GPS on during my walking, to improve libre/free databases like the Mozilla one. So it's not necessary to have your explicit consent to know where your router is, but anyone can gather and share that information. It's not related to your identity in any way, tho, it's just a Mac address geolocated somewhere

@aral hmmm... would love to check that but I dont use Gnome ... but the app is installed.

But launching it I got :
(org.gnome.Maps:2917014): folks-WARNING **: 16:46:51.336: Failed to find primary PersonaStore with type ID 'eds' and ID 'system-address-book'.
Individuals will not be linked properly and creating new links between Personas will not work.
The configured primary PersonaStore's backend may not be installed. If you are unsure, check with your distribution.

I guess I'm alright 😅

@aral To better understand your position here: if you don't like the way Mozilla's geolocation works, what would you say about, that's basically the same approach, but the data about your WiFi AP collected by users are stored at their phones and serve to only those users?

@aral How is the router being identified then? The mac address is not exiting the LAN, is it?

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