Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Frequently Asked Questions about the Pale Moon browser and their answers.

Moderator: satrow

User avatar
Moonchild
Pale Moon guru
Pale Moon guru
Posts: 21966
Joined: Sun, 28 Aug 2011, 17:27
Location: 58.5°N 15.5°E
Contact:

Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Unread postby Moonchild » Sun, 05 Jan 2014, 12:28

To clarify a few things, I've decided to write up an explanatory post about Location-Aware Browsing, how this is handled in Firefox and Pale Moon, and how it will impact your browsing.

More than one method
The most confusion about Location-Aware Browsing is the fact that there are two distinct methods used out on the web, which both perform a similar function but are quite different in how they work:
  1. Geolocation: This is a location lookup done by the browser, and what most of this post is about. A webpage can request (through JavaScript) that the browser finds its geographical location. If your hardware supports it and is configured correctly, the browser can get GPS coordinates from your computer and report this to the requesting page in your browser. If not, a request is made to a geolocation provider on the Internet, which determines your GPS coordinates based on data passed in the request. This is a client-side process that by default requires your permission. Pale Moon will pop up a request similar to this:
    geolocation1.png
    Geolocation prompt.
  2. GeoIP lookups: This is a location lookup done by the web server you connect to. These kinds of lookups are done server-side, do not ask you for permission, and are almost invariably based on IP lookup tables in the possession of the web server operator (known association tables of IP ranges and geographical location). As a web user, you will have no control whatsoever over these kinds of lookups, and the only way to circumvent this kind of lookup is by using an indirect connection (e.g. a proxy server or VPN) that will present a different IP address to the server.

Firefox vs. Pale Moon
Recently, Google, the default geolocation provider (point 1 above) used in Mozilla products since Firefox 3.5.*, changed the way they provide their geolocation services to web browsers, limiting access to the API by way of a secret key only used by official Mozilla Firefox builds. As a result, geolocation in Pale Moon broke because the Google servers refused to provide a response without the key. Individual developers would have to purchase a business key to continue using the geolocation services, and pay-per-volume.
As a result, Pale Moon (From version 24.3.0 onwards) will be using a different geolocation provider's API to request GPS coordinates. This makes for a difference in how geolocation is handled, and a difference in privacy of your browsing:

The Firefox method
  • Gathers data about local wifi networks and access points from the browser.
  • Sends this data, along with a secret key, to Google servers. This may include detailed information about your local network.
  • Google uses this data and your connecting IP address to look up your GPS coordinates based on known information in tables.
  • Receives GPS coordinates (longitude,latitude) and an indicator of the rough accuracy of these coordinates.
The Pale Moon method
  • Sends a simple http GET request to the API server. No data is being sent beyond a normal web request, and only the absolute minimum amount of data is requested (just latitude and longitude) to prevent snooping on details like country, isp, organization, etc. by intermediaries.
  • The API server uses your connecting IP address to look up your GPS coordinates based on known information in tables.
  • Receives GPS coordinates (latitude, longitude) but no indicator of the rough accuracy of these coordinates.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

"If you want to build a better world for yourself, you have to be willing to build one for everybody." -- Coyote Osborne

User avatar
Antonius32
Add-ons Team
Add-ons Team
Posts: 695
Joined: Sun, 25 May 2014, 11:18
Location: Netherlands

Re: Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Unread postby Antonius32 » Mon, 26 May 2014, 10:00

I know Firefox's geolocation 'service' can be disabled by changing the value for the about:config key "geo.enabled" to "false". Can Pale Moon's custom geolocation service be disabled in a similar way?
Image

User avatar
Moonchild
Pale Moon guru
Pale Moon guru
Posts: 21966
Joined: Sun, 28 Aug 2011, 17:27
Location: 58.5°N 15.5°E
Contact:

Re: Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Unread postby Moonchild » Mon, 26 May 2014, 14:38

Antonius32 wrote:I know Firefox's geolocation 'service' can be disabled by changing the value for the about:config key "geo.enabled" to "false". Can Pale Moon's custom geolocation service be disabled in a similar way?

Absolutely!
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

"If you want to build a better world for yourself, you have to be willing to build one for everybody." -- Coyote Osborne

User avatar
Antonius32
Add-ons Team
Add-ons Team
Posts: 695
Joined: Sun, 25 May 2014, 11:18
Location: Netherlands

Re: Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Unread postby Antonius32 » Mon, 26 May 2014, 17:16

So, to summarise:

- Firefox's default geolocation mechanism is disabled in Pale Moon.
- Pale Moon comes with it's own, custom geolocation mechanism.
- The about:config key "geo.enabled" does not apply to Firefox's default geolocation mechanism, because in Pale Moon, it's disabled anyway.
- Instead, in Pale Moon, "geo.enabled" applies to Pale Moon's own, custom geolocation mechanism. If a user sets "geo.enabled" to false, then Pale Moon's custom geolocation service (or mechanism) is switched off.

Am I correct?
Last edited by Antonius32 on Mon, 07 Jul 2014, 12:40, edited 1 time in total.
Image

User avatar
Moonchild
Pale Moon guru
Pale Moon guru
Posts: 21966
Joined: Sun, 28 Aug 2011, 17:27
Location: 58.5°N 15.5°E
Contact:

Re: Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Unread postby Moonchild » Tue, 27 May 2014, 11:12

You are correct, but a simpler way of saying it would be:
geo.enabled works in Pale Moon the same way as in Firefox in that it turns of geolocation, regardless of provider in use.

The fact that Pale Moon uses a different geolocation provider is irrelevant to the on/off switch ;)
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

"If you want to build a better world for yourself, you have to be willing to build one for everybody." -- Coyote Osborne

User avatar
Katryne
Moonbather
Moonbather
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue, 09 Jun 2015, 11:54
Location: France
Contact:

Re: Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Unread postby Katryne » Fri, 08 Jul 2016, 09:59

Hello !
In my PaleMoon, geo-enabled is settled to false.
But when I enter google.com in my address bar or a google of an other country, I am re-directed to google.fr, unless I first enter google.com/ncr.
How could I change my PM settings so that I always stay on the url I enter without being re-directed ?
How can I change the link in my search field so that it does not take into account my country location ?
Thanks in advance

User avatar
Moonchild
Pale Moon guru
Pale Moon guru
Posts: 21966
Joined: Sun, 28 Aug 2011, 17:27
Location: 58.5°N 15.5°E
Contact:

Re: Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Unread postby Moonchild » Fri, 08 Jul 2016, 13:29

They employ Geo-IP location (see OP, point 2)

I believe that Google has an option to prevent redirects, but I don't recall off-hand how to do this.
Another option is to make sure your connecting IP is in the region you prefer, e.g. by using a VPN service that allows you to choose your exit node's country.
Improving Mozilla code: You know you're on the right track with code changes when you spend the majority of your time deleting code.

"If you want to build a better world for yourself, you have to be willing to build one for everybody." -- Coyote Osborne

sIDcORK
Fanatic
Fanatic
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue, 17 Jul 2012, 22:27
Location: UK

Re: Pale Moon, Geolocation and You

Unread postby sIDcORK » Fri, 08 Jul 2016, 16:05

Use http://google.com/ncr

The ncr is no country recognition. You can apparently substitute any country code for com too.


Return to “Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests