Dennis Hackethal’s Blog

My blog about philosophy, coding, and anything else that interests me.

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Your audio devices might divulge your private information. Here’s how to protect yourself.

Websites can track you based on your audio devices. Depending on the names of your devices, you may also be making yourself more easily identifiable to websites.

Say your name is John Appleseed, so you name your AirPods ‘John Appleseed’s AirPods’. If you have given a website permission to use your microphone and you have your AirPods connected, the website now knows your full name. I noticed this while using a site earlier today. Once I had connected my AirPods, it displayed their name back to me.

Apple’s naming convention is ‘-first name-’s AirPods’. That’s what they’re named automatically when you first set them up. It’s better than the full name, but you may not want websites to know your first name, either. If you have a common name, divulging it may not seem like an issue, but it still narrows a website’s visitors down a significant amount.

To be sure, not every website will have access to the names of your audio devices – only those websites you give permission to use your microphone. But just because you let a website use your microphone does not mean you want it to know who you are, let alone track you.

Here’s the proof. It only takes a single line of code for a website to list the names of all your audio devices once you’ve granted access to your microphone. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the code, just focus on the second line that lists the names:

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