Mozilla goes where Google fears to tread with geolocation service

A few years back Google got into fearful trouble by recording the location of WiFi transceivers without asking for their owners’ permission. Lots of public outrage later, regulators pulled out their biggest and pointiest sticks and the Chocolate Factory destroyed the data.

What then to make of the newly-revealed Mozilla Location Service, “an experimental pilot project to provide geolocation lookups based on publicly observable cell tower and WiFi access point information”, that does more or less the same thing?

Mozilla says the service is an experiment “… to assess the impact Mozilla can have on the geolocation landscape, specifically to improve user privacy and enable innovation by creating public data sets”. The organisation is trying to position itself as an honest broker, with the following explanation of its intentions: