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How Apple Wi-Fi Positioning System can be abused to track people around the globe

May 23, 2024

Academics have suggested that Apple’s Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) can be abused to create a global privacy nightmare.

In a paper titled, “Surveilling the Masses with Wi-Fi-Based Positioning Systems,” Erik Rye, a PhD student at the University of Maryland (UMD) in the US, and Dave Levin, associate professor at UMD, describe how the design of Apple’s WPS facilitates mass surveillance, even of those not using Apple devices.

“This work identifies the potential for harm to befall owners of Wi-Fi APs (access points), particularly those among vulnerable and sensitive populations, that can be tracked using WPSes,” the authors explain in their paper [PDF].

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