Bluetooth vs. wireless 2.4GHz outside?

Hi, what’s the best privacy friendly protocol for outside in public, if one can’t use wired connection, for e.g : earbuds, keyboard ?

Facts :

  • I remember reading that, at malls for instance, there are bluetooth beacons (same as wifi hotspots ), which are able to, somehow, provide an ID of yours (e.g android/google ID) to advertisers, saying “this guy was hanging 10 meters around this brand shop for an extended period of time, would you like to send them ads of your brand?”
  • This summer I tried a pair of bluetooth earbuds, and despite scanning and the buds being ON, my host device couldn’t see them, as long as I didn’t hold on a pairing button procedure.
    • So it’s nice to see that not any device 10 meters around the buds could see that they are nearby. However it’s very uncommon, in my experience 99% of the time, BT buds just automatically go in pairing/broadcasting mode upon power ON… So everyone around can see their presence…
    • I don’t know, maybe there’s a version of bluetooth implementation to target, you guys tell me…
  • wireless 2.4 / the USB dongle way, seems better at first, as nobody around could see my devices listed, but anything involving a dongle isn’t secure against one-time physical access = tampering ( )
  • Also I’ve read in the past that it’s fairly easy with few tools to listen on local police/company/event radio channels (talkie walkies). I believe they use 2.4 GHz but don’t know anything about radio stuff. So are these proprietary dongles privacy-safe or not?

Out of subject : why I can’t post anything on reddit subs r/Privacy, r//Privacytools io, r//PrivacyGuides ? It would be better for us that our ISP / DNS provider knows that we browse reddit instead of privacyguides dot net I think Bluetooth vs. wireless 2.4GHz outside?

It’s really hard to say without knowing what threats you’re concerned about, but I’ll share some information about the security of the wireless connection itself at least.

While Bluetooth isn’t great, I would never choose some random home-brewed protocol over a 2.4 GHz dongle before modern Bluetooth. With those USB dongles you don’t even know if the connection is encrypted, which is going to be the most important thing here.

Bluetooth has had mandatory encryption for basically forever, so unless you find a Bluetooth device that’s like 20 years old they’ll always be better than some unencrypted USB dongle. The main security issues with Bluetooth typically surround the pairing process, so probably don’t do that in public.

There haven’t been any significant security improvements to Bluetooth since 4.2 as far as I’m aware, so aiming for a Bluetooth Low Energy 4.2+ device at a minimum is what you’d want, but there’s no reason to not buy BLE 5 devices in 2023.

Apple’s Magic Keyboards and Mice operate securely, as do Logitech’s Logi Bolt devices. I’m sure there’s plenty of other options too.

Privacy Guides will not be supporting companies (Reddit) who actively harm the privacy of their users, but r/Privacy should still be open as far as I know? We have nothing to do with r/Privacy though, so if you’re having trouble posting there you should contact their mods.

Thanks for answering, mainly I wanna be invisible wherever I go, as if I were using wired earphones. Because when bluetooth scanning on a host of mine, I can see a bunch of items around me, some of them being manufactured after BT version 4.2 (=2014/2015 Bluetooth - Wikipedia ). So I don’t know if they are spefically coded to always broadcast their presence, but this is a thing I want to avoid. In societies where apps can retrieve position through A-GPS (no GPS, only wifi/cell tower communications ON), I wouldn’t be surprised of seeing soon cities barded with BT beacons

You’re right, would it be a way to tell ? Like, using a CLI while having the dongle plugged in a computer… Or simply is it already proven that not-random bigcorps (logitech, razer, corsair) have their 2.4G protocol secured ?

Thank you, a convenience issue I faced though is the lack of capability of bluetooth, it can’t operate at BIOS stage / to wake from sleep a machine (that is, in “HID mode”), unless :

  • using a macbook,
  • or ugly DIYed dongles,
  • or the smallest CSR USB dongle, but it only accepts 4.0 slaves, not 4.X :frowning:
    as far as I’ve understood…
    So may I ask if you know why it’s recommended to use 4.2 instead of 4.0 please?