Disable Location-Aware Browsing (Geolocation) In Firefox - gHacks Tech News

Disable Location-Aware Browsing (Geolocation) In Firefox

The next installment of the Firefox web browser comes with a new location-aware browsing (geolocation) feature that is enabled by default.

Geolocation makes it possible to identify the user's location in the world based on data such as the computer's IP address. It has to be noted that messages will be displayed whenever the user opens a website that makes use of the new location-aware browsing feature.

The message looks similar to those when installing add-ons from third party websites and basically gives the user the choice to allow or disallow the gelocation service on that specific website.

A click on the Share Location button will share the current location with the website while a click on Don't Share will prevent it.

firefox geolocation

To be precise, the following information will be send to the website:

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.

Firefox users who never intend to use the geolocation feature might want to disable it permanently. This can be done easily by typing [about:config] in the Firefox address bar to open the Firefox configuration. The feature can now be disabled by entering [geo.enabled] into the Filter form at the top and pressing the enter key. The geo.enabled parameter should now be displayed. The easiest way to disable geolocation is to double-click the entry so that the Value displays false afterwards.

You find more information about geolocation on the Location-Aware browsing page over at Mozilla which also explains how to get remove permissions that have already been granted to websites and the random client identification number.





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    Comments

    1. Paulus said on June 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm
      Reply

      Your Firefox link, in the first sentence, to (ghacks?) Firefox (page) is not correct linking.

      1. Martin said on June 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm
        Reply

        Why is that Paulus?

    2. DanTe said on June 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm
      Reply

      Hmmm…. time to try out Opera. Firefox is getting way too cozy with intrusive Big Brother Google.

    3. Paulus said on June 19, 2009 at 7:29 pm
      Reply

      Maybay i am mistaken but the page your linking to is the ghacks firefox page (whit all your (ghacks) writings about firefox) and not a specific (ghacks) page Firefox (3.5) explanation page, of what firefox is and does. But reading it now again i now think that is what your want it to link to, so sorry.

    4. Roman ShaRP said on June 19, 2009 at 11:06 pm
      Reply

      Thanks, I think it’s useful tip.

    5. ...... said on June 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm
      Reply

      That crap shouldn’t be enabled by default. Good post.

    6. GRTerrero said on June 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm
      Reply

      Thank you. Very helpful.

    7. Afm Id. said on July 27, 2009 at 6:49 pm
      Reply

      Some important quotes from the “Google Location Service in Mozilla Firefox Privacy Policy” at http://www.google.com/privacy-lsf.html:

      “(…)we will collect, depending on the capabilities of your device, information about the wifi routers closest to you, cell ids of the cell towers closest to you, and the strength of your wifi or cell signal.”

      “(…)we also collect IP address, user agent information, and unique identifier of your client. We use this information to distinguish requests, not to identify you.”

      “(…)We also use all the information above to operate, support, and improve the overall quality of the Google Location Service.”

      “Information collected above will be anonymized and aggregated before being used by Google to develop new features or products and services, or to improve the overall quality of any of Google’s products and services.”

    8. krazdkiller said on April 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm
      Reply

      How do I turn off Location-Aware Browsing permanently?

      Location-Aware Browsing is always opt-in in Firefox. No location information is ever sent without your permission. If you wish to disable the feature completely, please follow this set of steps:

      * In the URL bar, type about:config
      * Type geo.enabled
      * Double click on the geo.enabled preference
      * Location-Aware Browsing is now disabled

    9. trey said on June 9, 2010 at 5:44 am
      Reply

      that dont work, browerspy.dk can still locate me, firefox suxx

      1. Martin said on June 9, 2010 at 9:42 am
        Reply

        Maybe they use the IP to locate you?

        1. krazdkiller said on June 9, 2010 at 4:31 pm
          Reply

          martin that is exactly what they did.

    10. Karla said on November 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm
      Reply

      This does not work in FF 3.6

    11. Terry said on March 29, 2011 at 10:54 am
      Reply

      What exactly is supposed to be revealed when a user visits a site after disabling geo.location?

      For example, if I surf to dnsstuff.com, my location appears to be in a town about 100 miles from where I actually live. Is this what’s supposed to happen?

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 29, 2011 at 11:01 am
        Reply

        Terry, most services use your IP to estimate your location. Firefox’s geolocation uses the IP, information about nearby wireless access points and a random client identifier assigned by Google (they use Google’s Location Services)

        If you disable geolocation only your IP address can be used by sites to track your location in the world.

    12. anon said on November 23, 2011 at 12:41 am
      Reply

      This geolocation thing is a massive privacy threat, and seeing as how Mozilla’s main funder is an advertising company (Google), that explains why privacy violation is installed and enabled by default.

      A thing like geolocation should be truly optional and use the Mozilla browser’s extension system so users can actually remove (not disable and hope it’s not buggy) some of the data-rape enabling technology.

      Personally I am going to create a Privoxy filter to remove geolocation attempts from websites, just as I use Privoxy to remove other annoyances (eg fixed elements that float about) and some other attempts at data-rape (eg Google analytics).

    13. ANON said on January 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm
      Reply

      THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT WORK IN BLOCKING THIS FEATURE IN THE NEW FIREFOX 26.0 I HAVE DISABLED GEOLOCATION AND STILL WEBSITES LIKE WEATHER.COM AND YAHOO.COM PULL UP LOCAL INFO DESPITE THE FACT THAT 1) I’VE BLOCKED IT AND 2) ACCORDING TO FIREFOX, DEFAULT BEHAVIOR IS THAT IT WILL ALWAYS ASK BEFORE SHARING THT INFO…. YET HERE WE ARE AND PRIVACY ISSUES BY THE WAYSIDE, IT’S AUTOMATICALLY ON EVEN WHEN BLOCKED. TRY BLOCKING IT USING THESE INSTRUCTIONS AND GOING TO SITES LIKE WEATHER.COM OR YAHOO.COM AND WATCH YOUR ZIPCODE COME UP ON THE HOME PAGE

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