[guardian-dev] detecting mobile phone location

D Black david8black at gmail.com
Wed Feb 12 17:35:21 EST 2014

I've run iwconfig a few times on phones running CM and found txpower to be 32dBm, which is about 1W. I find that hard to believe but the developer of my phone's kernel was so annoyed by this that he made a sys interface for it. He blames it on LG although I can't see how that fits in with e.g. French laws of 10mW outdoors. Iwconfig (but not iw) also works for me but I've noted that it doesn't give results on some phones recently. There's NDK source code for it in the Serval Batphone repo. However I set it, even to 4mW, it doesn't seem to have much affect on the range.

Wifi can help, but there are also some of the same risks.  It will be harder
to track because the signal is much weaker.  On a mobile phone, wifi will
usually radiate less than 50mW. That's a lot less than 3000mW.  The risk is
that wifi still radiates a unique ID (the MAC address).  But if you use a MAC
changer, then you can change the MAC address every time the device uses a
different wifi, and that will make it very difficult to track.

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