The Trustworthy Wireless project aims to provide the users of mobile, wireless devices with technologies that let them understand and control the kind of privacy that they receive. This is a problem of growing importance as wireless devices become pervasive -- in all manner of everyday consumer devices from laptops and mobile phones to health monitors and game controllers -- and are used to convey ever more personal information about our locations, habits, relationships and health.

Today, wireless devices pose heightened privacy risks that go beyond what some users may consider reasonable. They are relatively exposed, more so than their wired counterparts, because radio transmissions can be received by anyone within range, and this range will often cross walls or other physical boundaries that form the norms for social privacy. Best security practices today that use encryption do not hide low-level identifiers (such as network names and addresses) that often map directly to high-level identifiers (such as user names and locations). Applications routinely send personal information to nearby devices or distant third parties, such as ad servers, without giving notice to users. And users often have little understanding of the privacy they are given in practice.

The Trustworthy Wireless project is working across physical, network and application layers to tackle these privacy issues in a user-centered manner. Our goal is to enable people to use their mobile, wireless devices with confidence and without leaving unintended "digital footprints" that expose their identities and activities to outsiders. We target solutions that are valuable across multiple wireless technologies, from RFIID to WiMax, though the major focus to date has been on 802.11-based devices.