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Google has an API which can determine someone's location based on the wifi router names which a user's computer can see. You will see this if you go to google maps and your browser may ask if you would like to share location data.

I am wondering if there is any way to disable this on a system wide setting rather than just in each browser (Chrome can do this too). Is there any way I can limit which applications have a list of the wireless routers I can see?

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What OS? (Unrelated: SU's minimum comment length is retarded.) –  Spiff Jun 5 '10 at 3:57
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2 Answers

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As far as I remember Google uses the geolocation feature of your browser, so if your browser supports this feature, you'll have to disable within the browser itself.

From what I understand, the data collected by Google amounts to the SSID MAC address and IP Address, all of which, by themselves, are useless in identifying you by location, as each can be changed fairly easily.

Windows 7 supports locations and sensors but for that to work you have to install and configure a sensor.

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Pulse's answer above is correct but incomplete. While you can disable Gears' geolocation function in your browser, and some other geolocation-assistance plugins in the OS, there is no way to prevent a web server from detecting your IP address and consulting geolocation databases. The Google geolocation API just uses data from your computer to make the resolution of your location more rapid and accurate. It is not, however, the only (or even the principal) way geolocation works.

Disable all the geolocation services your browsers and OS and then hit this http://www.ip2location.com/ It might be a little off, but it's probably fairly close.

This is because you have an IP address, and it is through this IP address that you communicate with the interent. You can mitigate this by obscuring your connection through a single proxy, or a whole proxy system (like the TOR network).

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