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Wahaha wrote

Why does this machine-id exist in the first place? What is it good for other than compromising privacy?


Rambler OP wrote

Honesty, I'm not certain, but it appears in every mainstream distro that uses systemd.

Most people are aware of MAC addresses, but if you search the web for machine-ID being seen as a privacy concern, you'll find nothing.

No need to have a constant, unchanging value that exists from the moment a system is installed.

I'll research it more and update the blog post if I find anything noteworthy.


BlackWinnerYoshi wrote

I don't know why machine-id exists, but what I do know is that this only exists on Linux operating systems that use systemd, based on this command:

sudo systemd-machine-id-setup

So the way to avoid it entirely is by switching to a systemd-less Linux, such as Salix OS (clear net only). Actually, systemd has a lot of problems (clear net only), so you should avoid it anyway.

And as to what is it good for besides compromising privacy... I also have no idea. I guess Lennart Poettering Red Hat wanted to do something with it, but they didn't know what to do with it, so they left it as a privacy compromising thing of however many Linux users are being used by systemd.


Wahaha wrote

Good to know. I'm planning to switch over to Artix anyway. But for now I'm going to apply the suggested fix.


Rambler OP wrote

Furthermore, I just tested Tails and they DO change the machine-id after every reboot. I'm downloading Whonix right now as well to test, but I've got shit rural internet so that'll take some time.

I'll update the blog with my finding when I do.

The fact Tails randomizes it after each reboot should be enough to hint that it's likely a good idea to not have any identifying ID tied to your system...


Wahaha wrote

That's true. I've set a cronjob to change it every 2hours. Even more reasons to finally move to Artix.


RAMBLE1 wrote (edited )

Thanks for sharing. Another good reason to not run systemd !

Im running mxlinux with sysv init.

->cat /etc/machine-id

cat: /etc/machine-id: No such file or directory



spc50 wrote

It's terrible that this data exists. Well intentioned pathway to hell these IDs are.

It's incomprehensible that anything has or can get access to such values. Such should be lock boxed and only root accessible. Definitely nothing a browser or other shi!tware should be able to retrieve. Yet they can and do. Speaks for the need of standardized JAILS for all programs in any computing environment.

This is a good reference to give distro hoppers a fair chance and reduce search and research fatigue for SystemD-less distros: