[OSM-dev] Tile usage without proper identification

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Tue Aug 23 15:35:30 UTC 2016

On Tuesday 23 August 2016, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> I'm in favour of privacy too but please spend a moment to think what
> would happen if everyone did what you do - we'd never know who uses
> our tiles, at all, and hence we'd be unable to allocate our resources
> for the maximum benefit of all.

The responsible and effective implementation of privacy here would be to 
configure your webbrowser to prevent websites to load external data 
like images.  This is course fairly theoretical since a lot of websites 
would become unusable.

If you turn off referrer transmission w.r.t. tiles the only effect this 
has is it prevents the tile provider from knowing what website you were 
requesting the tiles from.  It does not prevent the tile provider or 
the website operator from learning about your map browsing activity.  
In case of non-free tile providers by the way use of API keys and 
tokens means the website is known to the tile provider even without a 
referrer.  So you'd just punish the free services by withholding them 
information others get despite these measures.

Christoph Hormann

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