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posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 11 2014, @11:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the whats-in-it-for-them? dept.

Russell Brandom reports that a new feature in iOS 8 is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy: When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, iOS 8 will randomize their MAC address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network. Why are iPhones checking out Wi-Fi networks in disguise? Because there's an entire industry devoted to tracking customers through that signal. Shops from Nordstrom's to JC Penney have tried out a system that automatically logs any phone within Wi-Fi range, giving stores a complete record of who walked into the shop and when. But any phone using iOS 8 will be invisible to the process, potentially calling the whole system into question. "Now that Apple has embraced MAC spoofing, the practice of Wi-Fi sniffing may stop working entirely," says Brandom. "The result is a privacy win for Apple users and a major blow against data marketing and all it took was an automatic update."

 
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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bob_super on Wednesday June 11 2014, @03:46PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday June 11 2014, @03:46PM (#54194)

    Question: Am I the only one who just turns off my phone's WiFi and Bluetooth when I'm not actively using them?
    Not only does that protect me from all kinds of tracking and secret backdoors when I'm just walking down the street, but I actually like having three days of battery.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Wednesday June 11 2014, @05:26PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 11 2014, @05:26PM (#54228) Journal

    Yeah, probably you are one of the few that bothers.

    First, having wifi and bluetooth on (Note: this story doesn't mention changing the bluetooth Mac), really doesn't cost that much in terms of battery. Using wifi SAVES battery, because it takes less battery to power a radio that can only reach 30 meters than it does to power one that can reach 10 miles.

    If you are NOT using it, wifi takes little power, and by lighting up the screen for 20 seconds to turn wifi off/on, you waste more battery than you save just walking down the street.

    If you will be out for the day, it might make a difference. But I guarantee you, that an *honest* test will reveal that turning off wifi will not extend your one day battery to three days.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Thursday June 12 2014, @01:45PM

    by urza9814 (3954) on Thursday June 12 2014, @01:45PM (#54589) Journal

    Yeah, I do the same. 8 hours a day at the office with no wifi, plus an hour total commute, when I'm home I'm mostly on my laptop not the phone. So why the heck would I *ever* turn on wifi? Plus my notifications work much better from the cell network since they don't have to navigate through multiple NAT layers. And usually even with fairly heavy usage I can get 20 hours from a full charge so that's more than enough.

    Although...on my old phone (Galaxy S3) at least I noticed the wifi liked to turn itself back on all the time. I'd keep turning it off, then an hour or two later it would be on again! Not sure if my new one has been doing that too; haven't had it long enough to notice. I think it might have been this stupid battery saving app I had installed though. So much for that. Sometimes I really do wish these damn things had a 'permanently disable wifi' option though...a hardware switch for it would be fantastic.

    And bluetooth...I've never once enabled that on any device I've ever owned. Never found a use for it. If given the option I'd much prefer a device without any bluetooth capability.