Locational wireless and social media-based surveillance

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Edith Cowan University


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Computer and Security Science / Security Research Institute




Originally published in the Proceedings of the 12th Australian Digital Forensics Conference. Held on the 1-3 December, 2014 at Edith Cowan University, Joondalup Campus, Perth, Western Australia. Available here


The number of smartphones and tablets as well as the volume of traffic generated by these devices has been growing constantly over the past decade and this growth is predicted to continue at an increasing rate over the next five years. Numerous native features built into contemporary smart devices enable highly accurate digital fingerprinting techniques. Furthermore, software developers have been taking advantage of locational capabilities of these devices by building applications and social media services that enable convenient sharing of information tied to geographical locations. Mass online sharing resulted in a large volume of locational and personal data being publicly available for extraction. A number of researchers have used this opportunity to design and build tools for a variety of uses – both respectable and nefarious. Furthermore, due to the peculiarities of the IEEE 802.11 specification, wireless-enabled smart devices disclose a number of attributes, which can be observed via passive monitoring. These attributes coupled with the information that can be extracted using social media APIs present an opportunity for research into locational surveillance, device fingerprinting and device user identification techniques. This paper presents an in-progress research study and details the findings to date.



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