Whether it’s at your local coffee shop, at work, or in the comfort of your own home we are surrounded by WiFi signals, but did you know that your router could actually spy on you?
According to The Atlantic, when you move through a space with a WiFi signal your body affects that signal by absorbing some of the waves and reflecting it in other directions. There have been experiments that focus on using WiFi signals to identify people. At Northwestern Polytechnical University in China, they’re able to identify a body walking through a door nine times out of ten.
Now before you go and turn off your WiFi because you think the government is spying on you, here’s how this new discovery can help.
This alternative use of WiFi signals can be used in a smart home setting. If the router can sense a person entering the room, it could essentially talk to other devices in your home like lights, appliances, or window shades to customize the room to a person’s preference or it can discern whether an elderly person has fallen in their home and need assistance.
At it’s most advance stage, a WiFi signal can even monitor minute finger movements to determine what keys you’re pressing on a keyboard without having an actual keyboard. If a signal can read your finger movements for typing, it could even be possible for WiFi to read lips. A group of researchers presented this technology at a conference where by analyzing the distortions and reflections of WiFi signals. The system was able to to determine 91 percent accuracy of what one person was saying and 74 percent accuracy of three people speaking at the same time.
All of these innovations can seem like a breach of privacy but at it’s current state, WiFi signal readings only work in controlled environments and with intense training.