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Submission + - Wi-Fi sniffing lets researchers take social snapshots of crowds (techworld.com.au)

angry tapir writes: The probe requests emitted by a smartphone as it seeks a Wi-Fi network to connect reveal the device's manufacturer thanks to its MAC address. This can offer some information about a crowd of people by looking at the breakdown by device brand. However, because some OSes include a preferred network list (PNL) in their probes, it may be possible to use Wi-Fi sniffing to infer even more information about a group of people by looking for common SSIDs, and potentially mapping them to known network locations. A group of Italian researchers has been looking at ways to use the information in probe requests to analyse the social connections of crowds.
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Wi-Fi sniffing lets researchers take social snapshots of crowds

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