"Carlos E. R." <robin email@example.com wrote
| Hum. The browser knows the location from the IP. Try Google Maps in a | computer with a new web profile or computer user, see how they get your | location correct. At least the area. |
I think we're potentially talking about multiple things here. Browser location reporting is one thing. Spyware data collection is another. Locating you by your IP is yet another. As I mentioned, I use a free database that lets me locate IP within a few miles. You can also look up a single IP online. That's based on public records. If I visit Google (with no script allowed, as usual) they list my location as being 2-3 miles away from where I am, in a different subsection of town. They're using those public IP records. That's not a source of addresses.
I have a VBScript on my desktop to do the same thing. Having processed the MaxMind free database (deliberately imprecise) and stored the data in an MSI (software installer) database, I can look up an IP and get the location. MaxMind will probably give me the next town over, because they don't want to give away full functionality for free. But the data is there. What they do give me is very handy for tracking visitors to my website. At least I can tell a Chinese hacker from a Spaniard from someone in Ohio. (And I know, for example, that it's ALWAYS the Chinese who try to hack into my website by making hundreds of requests at a time to test for things like Wordpress vulnerabilities. Russians stop by to download code. Chinese just try to do automated break ins, presumably to plant malware for driveby downloads.)
Spyware is completely separate. I don't use Google products and keep all but the base domain in my HOSTS file. I also don't enable any kind of location data and rarely use a cellphone. Nor do I use Google maps. If you're using Google maps on a cellphone, with location enabled, then they will know your location fairly precisiely from tower signal triangulation. But that's a different thing. With a cellphone you're basically wearing a tracking collar. And Google even sells that data in their "geofencing" business.
So there's a lot of location tracking going on via various spyware methods, as well as voluntary location tracking through cellphone apps that give driving directions, restaurant recommendations, suggested sex partners at a nearby bar, and so on. During the COVID situation, governments were encouraging people to install warning software. If you came within 6 feet of another cellphone sucker with the same software, who had recently tested positive, the app would warn you to get tested! Unfortunately it didn't discriminate between having lunch with an infected person vs passing them in your car.
It's highly unlikely that Google knows my home address just by seeing my IP, even in combination with their spyware. I just don't make that much data accessible. I haven't even seen ads to speak of for decades, simply due to HOSTS and disabling script. (I don't use any adblocker software.)
There was an interesting example of the spyware datamining several years ago:
Target is almost the last remaining US department store. They track customers any way they can. As a result of garden variety tracking and purchase history, they mailed ads for baby supplies to a teenage girl. The father found out his daughter was pregnant from the mailing.
So all of that is happening and it's astonishingly intrusive. Target knew the girl's name, address, shopping history, etc, probably from a charge card. (I avoid charge cards.) Or maybe because they suckered her into being a "loyalty member". Or possibly through a combination of disparate data that they collect or pay for.
Crazy stuff, and lawmakers are in the dark. But it doesn't help when Chicken Littles like Wally go around screaming, with no idea what they're talking about. It just gives the ostriches an excuse to keep their heads buried. The facts are plenty shocking without making stuff up.