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Researchers Investigate Potential Threat to Speech Privacy via Smartphone Motion Sensors


A young woman speaking on a smartphone

University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have found that smartphone motion sensors may be used to compromise speech privacy.

Credit: SheKnows.com

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have determined that smartphone motion sensors could be exploited to compromise speech privacy, albeit in limited situations.

"Unlike with microphones, users do not have to give newly installed applications permission to use them, making these sensors prime tools for malicious activity," says UAB's Nitesh Saxena.

Saxena and UAB's Abhishek Anand used stereo speakers, laptop speakers, smartphone speakers, and live human speech set at different volume levels to assess how audio signals affected a smartphone placed on the same surface as the speaker, on a different surface, and through the air.

Built-in laptop speakers affected the accelerometer solely when the laptop and the motion sensor were on the same surface, while motion sensors could be impacted by speech signals from a stereo speaker in the same scenario.

Neither smartphone speakers nor human speech could trigger a response in the motion sensors via aerial vibrations.

From UAB News
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