Wi-Fi 802.11bf, also known as “Wi-Fi 7” or “sensory Wi-Fi”, is a wireless connection technology standard that, in addition to facilitating data transmission, allows it to detect which objects or people are moving within its scope.
This technology offers new applications for a Wi-Fi connection, for example, the connected lights in a house could turn on and off automatically when they detect that a person walks through a room. Another use would be to activate a security alarm when motion is detected, as long as the user has configured alerts because they will be away from home.
Thanks to these characteristics, the Wi-Fi-802.11bf standard is known as “sensory Wi-Fi” (Wi-Fi Sensing or SENS). However, the standard is still under development, but the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is expected to approve it in September 2024.
The 802.11bf Wi-Fi standard was developed by a group of computer engineers led by Francesco Restuccia, who published a scientific article in which he describes the characteristics of the new wireless connection technology: “When the 802.11bf standard is ready and presented by the IEEE in September 2024, Wi-Fi will no longer be just a communication standard to become a new paradigm. sensory”.
Wi-Fi 802.11bf and the right to privacy
The very nature of the 802.11bf Wi-Fi standard raises questions about how it can violate users’ right to privacy.
“SENS-based classifiers have been shown to infer critical private information, such as typing, gesture identification, or activity tracking. And given the transmittive nature of a wireless channel, a malicious intruder could ‘listen’ to Channel State Information or CSI reports and track user activity without your authorization.” Researchers behind the 802.11bf Wi-Fi standard refer.
Given concerns about user privacy, Restuccia suggests that the new standard’s tracking capability could be turned on or off by users.
However, because the standard is still under development and won’t be ready until 2024, there’s still room to improve security locks to reap the benefits of 802.11bf Wi-Fi.