Privacy-preserved crowd monitoring

Our smartphones, tablets or laptops constantly broadcast information to connect to Wi-Fi networks, for example. This information is attributed to a unique network address. It can also be used to track the movements of individuals or groups on the campus grounds, identify where busy events take place, and how spaces are utilised. By placing 150 Wi-Fi scanners indoors and outdoors on the campus grounds, ‘crowd monitoring’ can take place. A smart campus navigation system could be one of its potential applications. But what if we can trace the unique network addresses to people? Technically, monitoring may not be very complex, but the associated privacy issues certainly are: which is why parties such as Bits for Freedom and Privacy First were consulted.