Your Devices Broadcast Unique Numbers, and They’re Being Used to Track You

Your smartphone — and other devices that use Wi-Fi — broadcast a unique number when they search for nearby Wi-Fi networks. A device’s unique MAC address is sent along with “probe requests” that search for nearby Wi-Fi networks.

This tracking problem isn’t just theoretical. Advertisers in London used Wi-Fi-enabled garbage cans to track people’s movements around the city. The Wi-Fi specification wasn’t designed for a world where people carried Wi-Fi-scanning devices in their pockets all day long.


This is a really interesting development and one which no doubt other smartphone and tablet makers will emulate. Whilst it does offer something of a kickback against location tracking many of us are giving up similar information through the choices we make regarding location services and app selection.

See on Scoop.itmrpbps iDevices

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