Is wi-fi name/number threat for privacy?

There is a lot of talk about hiding IP, avoiding browsing fingerprinting, going to Linux etc.

However, are there any articles, topics or your thoughts how wi-fi name/identification is connected to internet privacy?

Let’s assume 2 computers, prepared for privacy to some degree, are running under one home wi-fi network (and I assume this wi-fi is also identificable by some number).

Who sees wi-fi name/number?
Who collect this info and store outside your computer?

I assume that if Windows is installed on both computers, than basically Microsoft can know that 2 computers are in the same home.
Is this information collected by Microsoft via telemery (probably nobody knows)?
If I would use Skype on Linux (one computer) and Windows on other, can Microsoft still connects 2 computers?

What about browser?
Is e.g. Mozilla or Chromium see wi-fi name/number (on Windows or Linux)?
If yes I assume it is not provided to any website and since it’s open source code it is not send anywhere?

What about VPNs programs? If I install one VPN on Linux computer and than on Windows on other computer, is particullar VPN still knows it’s probably the same home network/user?

What about online games etc.?

Btw, is there any point to change wi-fi name from time to time or it does not matter since it’s number (I’m newbie here) is unchanged?
Is cable network less identificable?

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I have blogged about this subject during bad mental health condition and my main concern is that if you know my SSID (the human readable name), then you can use web services to turn it into my address assuming it has been wardrived which often happens in big cities.

Everyone who is within the range of your WiFi. By the way, don’t even think of disabling SSID broadcasting as that will make all your devices shout around looking for a WiFi network with your SSID worsening your privacy further.

A lot of different parties, to begin with something,

Likely yes.

Very likely, especially if you give/allow Windows 10 access to your location as that often works as the above.

This one I don’t know.


When you are looking up your location, Firefox by default connects to Google Location Services and gives it list of WLAN networks nearby and GLS returns where it believes you to be based on those. This can be changed in Firefox, Chromium I believe to always use Google’s service.

If you are using Firefox from repositories of your Linux distribution, you may be using Mozilla Location Services by default instead of Google.

I don’t think it’s provided to websites and I don’t know if websites are able to request list of your nearby WLAN networks, but I think that would be highly unlikely.

As it doesn’t go directly under any of your questions, I will say here that granting an Android app location permission, lets it scan WLAN networks around you.

I think it depends on the VPN provider, but it would generally see that both devices are connecting from the same IP address/range.

I think the answer on websites applies.

The only point might be adding _nomap to the end of the name so some location providers would stop mapping or publicly listing where your network is (see the above Wikipedia link), however you are correct that the MAC address would not change and that is what geolocation services are looking at (with the exception of _nomap opting out).

Thank you.

My main concern was which programs on my computer sees my wi-fi name, but indeed the problem is larger.

I see that if you use the same program on 2 machines or systems within one computer, it can anyway identify you by your SSID/router MAC.

I was thinking about compertmatization, but it has limited use if I install bad program. Let’s say I would like to install program X on both systems/computers (even if both would be Linuxes). This program can know I am the same network/user anyway because of wi-fi name (if on one computer but diffrent systems, it can know it also by my hardware fingerprint).

If it is small, isolated and trusted program, it is probably no problem.
But what if the program is owned by big company and/or send information regarding MAC/SSID to them or third parties. Than 2 computers/systems can be connected to one another and activity of the user compromised.

Is there any way to check which program check your MAC/SSID or/and block it?
And any open source programs to check which program send data via your network?

I guess in this case it would be better to connect via cable. In this case only operating system would see MAC address of the router to which cable is connected, but excact location could not be checked (only by IP of ISP, but it is not precise)?

Unless some other person would use this router to wi-fi, than location can be establish by the other computer and information about MAC, which is the same on both.

Can programs see router MAC if using cable?

Yes if its in default name, it will tell alot about your router and its module so it will be easy on hacker to access it and about privacy…well everything have its bad and good use so maybe know your router and hack it to expose browsing data or idk i just see it as security flaw and if i’m right apps on your os can not see wifi name they just can see what connection type and i guess os itself just see name of wifi to connect it

Google and apple, and everyone under the sun, are helping maintain databases with WiFi (and cell tower, and bluetooth devices) details including locations (versus time). This helps you use WiFi to give you approximate location, and speed up getting GPS fix. Of course software has access, or a user couldn’t even choose which WiFi to sign onto.

Places like may scare you, or may be fun to play with, depending on your viewpoint.

Maybe we should reconsider whether “secure” WiFi is actually a good thing, or if open WiFi and mesh networks for all would be better.

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I guess I am more on the scared side with it.

I agree, I have been a proponent of Open Wireless Movement for a long time running only open network at home and I am enthustiastic about mesh networks, especially Discussion: Yggdrasil (while it’s more on the software) and we also have the self-contained networks page.

My only problem currently is that the Mullvad app breaks Yggdrasil, but they say it’s on the roadmap.

Edit: I am using openwireless.org_nomap as the SSID in hopes to avoid opt-out supporting services. If I had 5 GHz WLAN, I would probably be calling it as openwireless.org_fast_nomap or something like that, 2.4 is difficult to rename as _slow as that would defeat the autoconnect point.

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IMO, having empowered individuals is better than only having empowered organizations, which could be the case without searches like at wigle.

Similar risks are taken when doing things like uploading tracks for openstreetmap.


Their blog hasn’t posted since 2015? And they promote a web bug? At: