Is there a "Google-free" operating system for smartphones that reliably supports MAC-randomisation?
#GrapheneOS apparently supports it since it's now based on Android Q, but you need a relatively recent Google Pixel 3 variant for it, which is prohibitive for many people (price, ethics, sustainability).
MAC randomization is a seriously underappreciated privacy feature, especially if you want to promote WiFi-only use. 👍
@resist_berlin_ You can enable it in Android 9 with the developer options: https://source.android.com/devices/tech/connect/wifi-mac-randomization?hl=ru
Can't test it right now by myself, maybe in a few hours.
I think that is device-dependent. I tried that on a Samsung Galaxy S5 and on an S7, both running LineageOS 16.0 (based on Android 9), and I couldn't find that option :( I assume the hardware does not support that feature on those phones?
@resist_berlin_ Good to know. Also the page says "Note: Randomized MAC addresses are generated per SSID and are persistent.". So if you connect to a Freifunk network at different locations (but with the same SSID), you still have the same MAC…
@bodems Yes, this too. I would rather have complete randomization, every time the phone connects to a network a new address should be used. So you can use public WiFis without being tracked on your way around the city. But *some* MAC randomization would already be cool.
Maybe I have to hack it myself, using #Replicant, root and an Atheros AR9271 dongle 🤔 it's of course not really mainstream compatible then.
@resist_berlin_ Sorry when I ask so much questions, but do you have any experience with Briar? You mention it at one slide of your website. And is there any chance to change the IMEI? A quick search about this topic only results in some shady tools, but it should be not that hard.
And IMEI changing - no experience with that, it's also highly illegal in Germany. You might get a higher fine for manipulating your IMEI than for the "activity" you're trying to hide :)
IMHO mobile connectivity (though baseband chips and phone networks) is a lost cause. We're always promoting airplane mode, WiFi use and #Freifunk. And if that's not possible, using two completely separate phones.
@resist_berlin_ The most interesting part for me would be the impact on the battery usage. And good to know that it is highly illegal in Germany, didn't know that.
@bodems Battery drain was bad in the beginning, but it has become significantly better. Especially if you're using premium phones with large batteries, e.g. Galaxy S series phones. You will notice it, but it's not a show stopper anymore.
Think it should be supported in devices on Android Q with the correct hardware - although guess it would take the devs who've built the operating system (whether stock or aftermarket) including all the necessary code. Its all in AOSP, so would expect it to be included
Daniel previously independently developed mac randomisation for Pixel 1,2 and Nexus 5x which all used Qualcomm WiFi. Nexus 6p used @bodems - 1/2
Qualcomm chipset, but with Broadcom WiFi which didnt provide necessary functions for anonymity. Think it was to do with not being able to minimize probes and randomise sequence numbers when scanning for WiFi networks
Also you may be in interested to hear #GrapheneOS now has option to randomise with every connection to a SSID
@resist_berlin_ is there a GSI version of those roms?
There are options for that, when your phone is rooted. For example from the famous chainfire, the original developer of SuperSU.
Don't know if the app still works, but you can easily test that.
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