NetworkManager and privacy in the IPv6 internet

IPv6 is gaining momentum. With growing use of the protocol concerns about privacy that were not initially anticipated arise. The Internet community actively publishes solutions to them. What’s the current state and how does NetworkManager catch up? Let’s figure out!

The identity of a IPv6-connected host

The IPv6 enabled nodes don’t need a central authority similar to IPv4 DHCP servers to configure their addresses. They discover the networks they are in and complete the addresses themselves by generating the host part. This makes the network configuration simpler and scales better to larger networks. However, there’s some drawbacks to this approach. Firstly, the node needs to ensure that its address doesn’t collide with an address of any other node on the network. Secondly, if the node uses the same host part of the address in every network it enters then its movement can be tracked and the privacy is at risk.

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the organization behind the Internet standards, acknowledged this problem and recommends against use of hardware serial numbers to identify the node in the network.

But what does the actual implementation look like?

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