Privacy tip #4
Turn off location. PART 2
Apart from Edge, which has to be tweaked from the W10 OS, most browsers can have their location services disabled through their menu. I cannot list EVERY browser in existence here, as I have a life. If you have other browser location tweaks, please share.
1. Click on Chrome’s menu and select the cog symbol – SETTINGS
2. Click the SHOW ADVANCED SETTINGS link at the bottom. Don’t be afraid of the ‘advanced’ implication, this has been worded to scare off timid sheep from reclaiming their privacy.
3. Click the CONTENT SETTINGS button under PRIVACY. While we’re here, consider unchecking the boxes urging us to use web services to ‘resolve navigational errors’ or ‘prediction services’ to auto complete our searches. This is just more telemetry.
4. Scroll down to the LOCATION section and select DO NOT ALLOW ANY SITE TO TRACK YOUR PHYSICAL LOCATION.
There are countless versions and forks of Firefox so, to save column inches, here are the about:config settings. Firefox (and especially Tor) should have location disabled.
To check, type about:config
in the address bar and press enter.
• Press the button that says "I'll be careful, I promise!"
or “I’ll take the risk!”
Type the terms in the search box and toggle to the following settings if you don't already have them:geo.enabled = false
→ Disables the browser geolocation feature.
WITHOUT THE [SQUARE BRACKETS][geo].provider.ms-windows-location = false
→ Disables windows location.geo.wifi.uri
→ Mozilla has used Google's geolocation service in Firefox by default for many years, so check for any Google addresses that may be here. This is an example of how Mozilla has lied about some of its user privacy claims – it seems to be posting our movements to the Big G. Erase any Google address and leave this field blank.
1. Click the TOOLS menu
2. Select INTERNET OPTIONS.
3. Click the PRIVACY tab at the top of the window
4. Check the NEVER ALLOW WEBSITES TO REQUEST YOUR PHYSICAL LOCATION box.
5. Click “OK” to save changes.
To disable Location in Safari, first click Safari > Preferences.
• Select the PRIVACY ‘hand’ icon at the top of the window.
• Under WEBSITE USE OF LOCATION SERVICES, select DENY WITHOUT PROMPTING to prevent all websites from asking to show your location.
Like the iOS, iPhone apps have to explain how they’ll use location data and must allow users to turn it off. Of course, access to this info is usually well hidden and when we find it it’s often written in brief, vague terms. To find LOCATION, do the following:
- Tap the SETTINGS icon, usually a cog or wheel
- Tap the PRIVACY icon, usually a white hand on a blue background
- Tap LOCATION SERVICES
Here, we should see a list of apps below a big green button. We can set each app individually to do the following:
• ALWAYS allow location (not recommended – it draws data even when it’s off)
• NEVER allow location
• Allow WHILE USING
The last one should be used for apps we think need to know our location or may be affected by disabling, although I’d venture there are few or none of these.
If you just want to block location on EVERYTHING just swipe that green switch in the pic above, to the left.Always delete apps you never use. Limits spyware and saves battery.
Owned by Google, Android doesn’t stop snooping apps snuffle away location data, even when they’re turned off. It doesn’t even have the iPhone feature to turn off location when not using an app. After much criticism on this, on newer phones, the Big G reckons developers are only allowed to collect data “a few times an hour,” but if we don’t want ANY data collected, we have to do it from the phone’s main SETTINGS menu.
Older Androids are simpler to tweak
1. Open SETTINGS
2. Tap SECURITY and/or LOCATION
3. Uncheck ACCESS TO MY LOCATION box
4. Swipe GPS SATELLITES button to OFF
Like the iPhone, newer Android phones show a list of individual apps and allow us to turn off each app’s location button. Otherwise we can switch all location snoops off with the main button in APP LEVEL PERMISSIONS.
WIPE THE DATA GOOGLE HAVE COLLECTED
To be fair to Google, who collect data like bees collect pollen, they do have a portal where we can remove our location data (and more).
I am not sure if we can access all the data Google collects about us, or our device, if we DON’T have an account with one of their services, (#Gmail
, Google Docs, #YouTube
, Android, Google Drive, G+, etc) but it’s worth going through the data they’ve collected "to improve our advertising experience".https://www.google.com/locationhistory/deletehttps://myactivity.google.com/myactivity
Obviously, we will be tracked within an inch of our life at Google central, but will have to suck it up if we want to clear our data. Be prepared for eyes to water and flabbers to be gasted.