[guardian-dev] detecting mobile phone location

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at guardianproject.info
Wed Feb 12 19:43:55 EST 2014

I am very skeptical that any mobile device is equipped with a WiFI radio than
can emit more than 100mW.  Such wifi radios are quite rare in WiFI APs and
laptops, so in mobile devices, where battery life is a big concern, it would
make no sense to use a less efficient, higher wattage radio.  What you see in
the software interface is not necessarily related to what the radio is
actually doing.


On 02/12/2014 05:35 PM, D Black wrote:
> I've run iwconfig a few times on phones running CM and found txpower to be 32dBm, which is about 1W. The developer of my phone's kernel was so annoyed by this that he made a sys interface to set 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 many phones now. However I set it, 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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