Last month, Apple quietly unveiled a new feature in iOS 8 that automatically scrambles an iOS device’s MAC address when it is searching for Wi-Fi networks. It made this move as a security precaution, as some marketing and analytics companies use the unique identifier to collect users’ location history to help clients “improve store layouts, determine timing for promotions and sales, measure the effects of advertising, and set staffing levels and store hours.”
If you have an Android smartphone, however, the Electronic Frontier Foundation claims there remains a high risk that your device is broadcasting your location history to anyone within Wi-Fi range of you. “Wi-Fi devices that are not actively connected to a network can send out messages that contain the names of networks they’ve joined in the past in an effort to speed up the connection process,” the EFF writes.
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