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[liberationtech] Changing MAC addresses on mobile devices

Dan Staples dan at
Wed Nov 6 18:31:29 PST 2013

Even more reason for randomizing your phone's MAC address:

You Are a Rogue Device -- A New Apparatus Capable of Spying on You Has
Been Installed Throughout Downtown Seattle. Very Few Citizens Know What
It Is, and Officials Don’t Want to Talk About It.

by Matt Fikse-Verkerk and Brendan Kiley

If you're walking around downtown Seattle, look up: You'll see off-white
boxes, each one about a foot tall with vertical antennae, attached to
utility poles. If you're walking around downtown while looking at a
smartphone, you will probably see at least one—and more likely two or
three—Wi-Fi networks named after intersections: "4th&Seneca,"
"4th&Union," "4th&University," and so on. That is how you can see the
Seattle Police Department's new wireless mesh network, bought from a
California-based company called Aruba Networks, whose clients include
the Department of Defense, school districts in Canada, oil-mining
interests in China, and telecommunications companies in Saudi Arabia.

The question is: How well can this mesh network see you?

How accurately can it geo-locate and track the movements of your phone,
laptop, or any other wireless device by its MAC address (its "media
access control address"—nothing to do with Macintosh—which is analogous
to a device's thumbprint)? Can the network send that information to a
database, allowing the SPD to reconstruct who was where at any given
time, on any given day, without a warrant? Can the network see you now?


On 10/30/2013 06:17 PM, Timur Mehrvarz wrote:
> On 27.10.2013 21:46, Julian Oliver wrote:
>> ..on Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 03:15:12PM +0100, Timur Mehrvarz wrote:
>>> On 24.10.2013 20:48, coderman wrote:
>>>> this is not really the kernel itself, but rather the wifi chipset - a
>>>> new kernel on the devices you're having trouble with won't fix this
>>>> ioctl.
>>>> unfortunately this problem is getting worse, not better.
>>> Hmm, I see. In this case it would be really good to have a
>>> positive/negative list in regard to Wifi chipsets.
>> Would be good to see a build of 'macchanger' for Android. 
> coderman and I have created a wiki page, listing ten devices at the
> moment. Of those, five allow the Wifi MAC address to be changed. The
> other five do not.
> Please feel free to add more devices:

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