Mozilla Location Service

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Mozilla Location Service (MLS) is an open, crowdsourced geolocation service based on publicly observable cell sites (and their cell IDs) and Wi-Fi access points.[1] The service is provided by Mozilla since 2013.[2]

In February 2019 MLS had collected more than 44.43 million unique cell networks and 1450 million unique WiFi networks[3] (April 2018: 37.7 million UCN and 1145 million UWN[4], November 2016: 28 million UCN and 757 million UWN[5], November 2015: 17 million UCN and 427 million UWN[6]). The mobile app Mozilla Stumbler for Android is available in the Google Play store[7] and on F-Droid.[8]

Mozilla does not collect the SSID name (e.g. "Simpson-family-wifi") from WiFi networks, but collects the BSSID (which is often the MAC address of the WiFi device).[9] To allow opt-out, Mozilla's client applications do not collect information about WiFi access points whose SSID is hidden or ends with the string "_nomap" (e.g. "Simpson-family-wifi_nomap").[10]

Mozilla publishes aggregated data set of cell locations (MLS Cell Network Export Data[11]) under a public domain license (CC-0).[9] Unlike the cell database, the raw WiFi database is not made public because the underlying data contains personally identifiable information from both the users uploading data and from the owners of WiFi devices.[9] However, Mozilla shares this proprietary data with its corporate partner Combain AB.[12]

Although the Mozilla Location Service is not used by default in Firefox,[13] the service is used in the Vivaldi browser, and is also the primary location source in the GeoClue library for non-GPS enabled devices, which is used in the GNOME and KDE environment in location-dependent applications such as the ones providing weather and maps.[14]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mozilla's Location Service pilot project provides geolocation lookups based on public cell tower and WiFi data". The Next Web. 2013-10-28. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Combain Provides Cell-ID and WiFi Positioning to Mozilla (Podcast)". GPS Business News. 2015-03-10. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  3. ^ MLS stats, accessed February 2019
  4. ^ MLS stats, accessed April 2018
  5. ^ MLS stats, accessed November 2016
  6. ^ MLS stats, accessed November 2015
  7. ^ https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.mozstumbler Play store
  8. ^ https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=org.mozilla.mozstumbler
  9. ^ a b c https://wiki.mozilla.org/CloudServices/Location/FAQ
  10. ^ Mozilla Location Service Opt-Out location.services.mozilla.com
  11. ^ https://location.services.mozilla.com/downloads
  12. ^ https://blog.mozilla.org/services/2015/03/06/combain-deal-helps-expand-mozilla-location-service/
  13. ^ Mozilla expands Location Service in Firefox
  14. ^ Aleksandersen, Daniel (11 August 2016). "Help Mozilla build out their Location Service while walking about with your phone". Slight Future. Retrieved 14 August 2016.