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I'm always worried about anonymity and privacy, and just now I realized that some programs have access to the MAC address (and actually do it), eg: Dropbox.

So I was wondering if changing the MAC Address was a common practice, and what issues could arise from doing so.

  • Will programs stop working?
  • What about the SO? I'm on Fedora 17

So far I know each machine has a MAC address, that uniquely identifies it, so unless you bought it anonymously, you could be identified by your vendor. Is that right?

But there are also other MAC addresses in the modem/router, and should be changed too. Is that correct?

Do you see any complications in having a script that changes all the addresses randomly on startup? Is that overkill?

One last question: Suppose my disk is fully encrypted, and someone gets physical access to the machine. Which MAC addresses could be retrieved? All of them?

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A MAC address isn't guaranteed to be unique. If it was guranteed to be unique you wouldn't be able to spoof it. There is no way to connect a MAC address to a particular user more information MUST be collected to do that. – Ramhound Jan 7 '13 at 17:50
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Not all network cards let you reprogram the MAC from software.

If you change the MAC address randomly on startup, there is the very low chance that you'll change it to something which is already in use on your network. You then have hard-to-debug network problems until you reboot.

Some copy protection systems may get upset by changing MAC address. I don't think that'll be an issue for Fedora.

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