Your phone's wifi signal can be used to identify your gait (way you walk). Your gait is unique enough that it can be used to identify you. If there is prior video footage of view, it can be matched to that too. Impressive research, scary implications https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2019/10/07/wi-fi-signals-let-researchers-id-people-through-walls-from-their-gait/
As has been correctly pointed out to me by @xavierluthi, this technique doesn't require you to have a phone. It uses the perturbation to radio frequency signals that *your body* unavoidably creates just be moving in RF signals. The WiFi is used to generate a RF signal for you to affect, if there is none. But given that many parts of the world are now already covered with WiFi, it raises even further questions regarding privacy implications.
@axx You hardly even need anything this sophisticated most of the time. There are a ton of ways to identify cellphones uniquely via wifi, bluetooth, or the mobile signal itself. And most of the time it's trivial to link a cellphone to a person.
The signals can even be picked up from space using an antenna array and processing that's well within the budget of government spy agencies.
@freakazoid true! I was just sharing "new and novel ways" to be uniquely identified
As far as I understand the article, it is not about using the Wifi signal of the phone's user, but rather to characterize the gait of anyone thanks to its impact on any Wifi radiation.
So, even if you are without any electronic device in your pocket, you can still be identified!
This is much more frightening than simply identifying you with the Bluetooth of your phone...
@freakazoid @xavierluthi That's a pretty dramatic view of things, but i fear there quite a bit of truth to that. And it makes sense, the business strategy for many of these people is to turn everything into a service. So why bother with having an endpoint + wifi access point in your house, when you can just pay monthly for a service that gives you a "ubiquitous, always functional wifi"?
@axx @xavierluthi I don't think it's remotely dramatic. Broadband to the home has progressed much more slowly than wireless broadband, and 5G surpasses the speed and latency of nearly everyone's home Internet connection. Cities are falling all over themselves to hand rights over to the carriers to get it deployed as fast as possible, the main thing being permission to deploy the microcells on lamp posts. It doesn't take much imagination to see where that's headed.
@xavierluthi @axx The carriers are chomping at the bit to be able to charge people a monthly fee for every device that's able to access the Internet. It's also a fantastic opportunity for them to push their own streaming services or charge a fee for independent streaming services to operate.
It's also a fantastic gift to authoritarians: having every device individually registered means they finally get the Internet Passport they've always wanted.
@axx @xavierluthi We will probably be able to hold our ground for a while in places that already have widely deployed wired broadband, but in much of the world mobile is already the only means available to access the Internet. Investment in wired broadband to the home is going to come to a screeching halt, so anyone who wants access to streaming AAA games who doesn't already have the bandwidth is going to have no choice but to switch to 5G for it.
@axx @xavierluthi Incidentally, I think the only way to get people to give a shit about this stuff is to make the technique accessible to more than just governments. When it's not only available to a mysterious shadowy entity people can pretend either doesn't exist, doesn't care about them, or has less capability than it does (or more, if it's necessary to justify a fatalistic view), maybe people will pay more attention.
@axx Physics is the ultimate privacy violator.
@indie @hummingrain The second one is not something i've heard of! the first one is used in the first chapter or so of Doctorow's Little Brother, but using the "more obvious" video surveillance + gait recognition software (not that obvious, even more so 10 years ago). Both are really neat though, I'd read that :)
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