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Activate 'Bracelet of Silence' and Alexa Can't Eavesdrop


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The "bracelet of silence."

Computer science professors at the University of Chicago created a prototype wearable device that blocks microphones from eavesdropping on conversations.

Credit: Petra Ford/The New York Times

Computer science professors at the University of Chicago (UChicago) created a prototype wearable device that blocks microphones in the vicinity from eavesdropping on conversations.

The "bracelet of silence" features 24 speakers emitting ultrasonic signals that jam nearby microphones.

The bracelet impedes the recording of conversations by smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, whose microphones are always on by default.

UChicago's Heather Zheng said a jammer should be portable in order to offer protection to users when entering environments where microphones and other Internet of Things devices may be operating without their knowledge.

Said UChicago's Ben Zhao, "The future is to have all these devices around you, but you will have to assume they are potentially compromised."

From The New York Times
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