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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Whatsapp, the trick to know the location of your contacts even without asking for it

There is a way to always know the (near) real time position of a contact. Which yes, it makes us reflect on how far we must go to truly protect our privacy

Location sharing on Whatsapp is one of the most convenient features within the messaging app. If you need to be reached by a friend in a club or you want to remember exactly where you parked your car, all you have to do is press the “Share” button , select “Location” and then choose whether to send the place where you are at the moment sending or if you want to be followed along a path by letting your interlocutor know your position for 15 minutes, one hour or 8 hours . In short, it’s very simple: the only obstacle to this plan is having to explicitly ask the other contact to share their position with you. Yet, now, there is a trick you can use forknow the other person’s location without even asking them .

The only requirement to use this system is to download Whatsapp Web and make sure the other person uses it regularly too, but otherwise it works whether you use the app on iPhone or Android . Open the site on the browser you prefer from a laptop or a Windows desktop, close all the other tabs and then press Control, Alt and Del at the same time on the keyboard: at this point you will see the screen change color and a series of actions appear to be activated, from this list press on “Activity Management” . Once the window is open, press the Windows key on the keyboard together with the letter R which will bring up the Run window where you have to write “cmd”and press enter. At this point a window should appear in which you have to type “netstat -an” (without quotes and with the space between netstat and the hyphen) and press enter : if you have closed all windows correctly and you have only opened the page with Whatsapp Web, only an IP address for the person you recently chatted with should appear . At this point, all you have to do is insert that code into a site capable of tracking this kind of addresses, such as IP-Adress for example, and the position of that person will appear .

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Obviously this is not a precise GPS location, but it will provide you with an indicative position in the vicinity of the contact you are interested in and stop at the moment in which you have exchanged your last messages. It is clear that a solution of this type should make us reflect from the point of view of privacy : it can be excellent if you want to ensure the health of a friend or relative you have not seen for a long time; but it can be detrimental if it is used as a control or stalking tool for ex or unfaithful partners. If we consider that Whatsapp was criticized at the beginning of the year for the new privacy regulation which regularized the Business tool (and therefore its intrinsic nature of data sharing with Facebook), it is clear that an intrusive procedure like this can lead other users to unsubscribe from the service.

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