Friday, 31 October 2014

Mozilla releases Stumbler App for smartphones to track your whereabouts using WiFi sniffer

Mozilla releases Stumbler App for smartphones to track your whereabouts using WiFi sniffer.

Mozilla released its latest App, Stumbler for smartphones which will use a WiFi sniffer to geolocate its users across the globe. With this release, Mozilla enters into tracking its users without their knowledge-a territory previously entered by Google and Apple - a very controversial move.

Mozilla releases Stumbler App for smartphones to track your whereabouts using WiFi sniffer.

WiFi sniffer for Android

How the app does work, is by detecting your location via WiFi, cell towers, etc and then uses them to pinpoint your location on the map. The benefits of this, is passed onto Mozilla's Firefox OS and other open source projects. In plain terms, any App can now track your location at any point in time.

Mozilla is even encouraging users to walk the road less travelled in a bid to improve its mapping service which currently is in its nascent stage.

Opt Out

This feature doesn't seem to have an opt in option. Instead there appears to be an indirect way to opt out of it. Mozilla advises that it's possible to opt out of being slurped by Stumbler by adding “_nomap” to the end of an SSID's name. The foundation says “This approach is used by other companies offering similar services” so Mozilla feels this approach is good enough. Although, how many users even know how to go about doing this, is another question altogether.

Murky Past

As mentioned earlier, Google had also tried this in the past and got tangled in controversy because the company tried to track users right under their nose and without their knowledge. The controversy arose when Google refused to admit which data is stored and which was eradicated.

Mozilla is taking this one step further by giving its users the initiative.

Though Mozilla, unlike Google doesn't use this data for advertising purposes, its still plenty of fodder for privacy activists to scream about.


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