Tracking People by their MAC Addresses
Yet another article on the privacy risks of static MAC addresses and always-on Bluetooth connections. This one is about wireless headphones.
The good news is that product vendors are fixing this:
Several of the headphones which could be tracked over time are for sale in electronics stores, but according to two of the manufacturers NRK have spoken to, these models are being phased out.
“The products in your line-up, Elite Active 65t, Elite 65e and Evolve 75e, will be going out of production before long and newer versions have already been launched with randomized MAC addresses. We have a lot of focus on privacy by design and we continuously work with the available security measures on the market,” head of PR at Jabra, Claus Fonnesbech says.
“To run Bluetooth Classic we, and all other vendors, are required to have static addresses and you will find that in older products,” Fonnesbech says.
Jens Bjørnkjær Gamborg, head of communications at Bang & Olufsen, says that “this is products that were launched several years ago.”
“All products launched after 2019 randomize their MAC-addresses on a frequent basis as it has become the market standard to do so,” Gamborg says.
EDITED TO ADD (9/13): It’s not enough to randomly change MAC addresses. Any other plaintext identifiers need to be changed at the same time.