More and more objects are equipped with wireless communications interfaces. The radio signal emitted by those devices can be easily collected and, in some cases, used to obtain private information about the owner.
WiFi enable devices such as smart-phones, tablets and laptops, store and broadcast information related to their Wi-Fi configuration and connection history. Based on this information, it is possible to infer personal information such as identity, social links or visited places.
Wi-Fi enabled devices are broadcasting frames containing their MAC address as long as the Wi-Fi is on. The MAC address is a unique identifier that can be used to track individuals for marketing or surveillance purposes.
Some general thoughts on the privacy issues related to the Wi-Fi technology.
As a way to publish, exchange and accessed any kind of information, the Internet is often considered as a pontential threat by some governements and organisations. The Internet communication are therefore monitored and sometime censored. A way to evade this monitoring is to use anonymous communication systems.
Censorship in the Wild: Analyzing Web Filtering in Syria, A. Chaabane, M. Cunche, T. Chen, A. Friedman, E. De Cristofaro, M.-A. Kafaar, arXiv, Feb 2014 [link]
Sensor networks collects information that can represent a threat to individuals’ privacy (e.g. energy consumption). Data aggregation have been proposed as a way to mitigate the privacy risks while enabling the collection of data.