Night Light and Mozilla Location Service Retiring

I don’t know if Mozilla Location Service is the only way used in Night Light to find current location, or there are multiple providers/ways underneath.

Retiring the Mozilla Location Service

The accuracy of Mozilla Location Service (MLS) has steadily declined. With no plans to restart the stumbler program or increase investments to MLS we have made the decision to retire the service.

In 2013, Mozilla launched MLS as an open service to provide geolocation lookups based on publicly observable radio signals. The service received community submissions of GPS data from the open source MozStumbler Android app. In 2019, Skyhook Holdings, Inc contacted Mozilla and alleged that MLS infringed a number of its patents. We reached an agreement with Skyhook that avoided litigation. This required us to make changes to our MLS policies and made it difficult for us to invest in and expand MLS. In early 2021, we retired the MozStumbler program.

We are grateful for the contributions of the community to MLS to both the code and the dataset. To minimize disruptions and allow people time to make alternative arrangements, we have created a schedule that implements the retirement in stages. The retirement plan can be tracked in this issue.

There will be five stages.

  1. As of today (Mar 13th, 2024) we will stop granting new API access keys. All pending applications will be rejected.
  2. On March 27th, 2024 we will stop accepting POST data submissions to the API. All submissions will receive a 403 response and the submitted data will be discarded. Additionally, we will stop publishing new exports of cell data for download.
  3. On April 10th, 2024 the cell data downloads will be deleted and will no longer be available.
  4. On June 12th, 2024 third party API keys will be removed and the service will only be available for Mozilla’s use cases.
  5. On July 31st, 2024 this source repo (GitHub - mozilla/ichnaea: Mozilla Ichnaea) will be archived.

The source code for the MLS application, Mozilla Ichnaea, will remain available under the Apache License 2.0.