University of Twente Student Theses


Wi-Fi MAC address randomization vs Crowd Monitoring

Covaci, Andrei - Ion (2022) Wi-Fi MAC address randomization vs Crowd Monitoring.

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Abstract:Wi-Fi-based crowd monitoring is sensing crowds of people through the Wi-Fi probe requests broadcasted by their mobile devices. These probe requests contain valuable information that uniquely identifies a device (e.g. the MAC address) and, potentially, the person carrying it. Such risk represents a severe privacy issue, and the main countermeasure that mobile device and operating system manufacturers have against it is MAC address randomization. With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), many crowd-monitoring systems have been shut down due to the privacy sensitive information they were storing. As a result, new crowd-monitoring systems had to be developed with people’s privacy in mind. Such systems use various methods to anonymize the collected data before it is stored while providing ways to derive statistical counts from the anonymized data. This research focuses on the impact of MAC address randomization on this new generation of Wi-Fi based crowd-monitoring system that produce, as their only output, statistical counts on crowds. First, an analysis of how the various characteristics of MAC address randomization influence the statistical counts regarding crowd monitoring is given. Then, we implement a module for treating randomized MAC addresses and assess to what extent it can reduce their impact on the statistical counts.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Computer Science BSc (56964)
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