Bracelet of Silence, IR reflective glasses, active & passive privacy technologies -

Shoggoth

kiwifarms.net
Using this NYT article as a jumping off board to discussions and recommendations regarding technologies for the cyberpunk future of today
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IR Jamming personal wear
Am I a paranoid lunatic, or about to make a fashion statement?
Microphones and cameras lurk everywhere. You may want to slip on some privacy armor.
The bracelet will jam an Echo or any other microphone in the vicinity from listening in on the wearer’s conversations.Credit...Petra Ford for The New York Times
By Kashmir Hill
  • Feb. 14, 2020
Last year, Ben Zhao decided to buy an Alexa-enabled Echo speaker for his Chicago home. Mr. Zhao just wanted a digital assistant to play music, but his wife, Heather Zheng, was not enthused. “She freaked out,” he said.
Ms. Zheng characterized her reaction differently. First she objected to having the device in their house, she said. Then, when Mr. Zhao put the Echo in a work space they shared, she made her position perfectly clear:“I said, ‘I don’t want that in the office. Please unplug it. I know the microphone is constantly on.’”
Mr. Zhao and Ms. Zheng are computer science professors at the University of Chicago, and they decided to channel their disagreement into something productive. With the help of an assistant professor, Pedro Lopes, they designed a piece of digital armor: a “bracelet of silence” that will jam the Echo or any other microphones in the vicinity from listening in on the wearer’s conversations.
The bracelet is like an anti-smartwatch, both in its cyberpunk aesthetic and in its purpose of defeating technology. A large, somewhat ungainly white cuff with spiky transducers, the bracelet has 24 speakers that emit ultrasonic signals when the wearer turns it on. The sound is imperceptible to most ears, with the possible exception of young people and dogs, but nearby microphones will detect the high-frequency sound instead of other noises.
“It’s so easy to record these days,” Mr. Lopes said. “This is a useful defense. When you have something private to say, you can activate it in real time. When they play back the recording, the sound is going to be gone.”
During a phone interview, Mr. Lopes turned on the bracelet, resulting in static-like white noise for the listener on the other end.

Polite Surveillance Society
As American homes are steadily outfitted with recording equipment, the surveillance state has taken on an air of domesticity. Google and Amazon have sold millions of Nest and Ring security cameras, while an estimated one in five American adults now owns a smart speaker. Knocking on someone’s door or chatting in someone’s kitchen now involves the distinct possibility of being recorded.
It all presents new questions of etiquette about whether and how to warn guests that their faces and words could end up on a tech company’s servers, or even in the hands of strangers.
By design, smart speakers have microphones that are always on, listening for so-called wake words like “Alexa,” “Hey, Siri,” or “O.K., Google.” Only after hearing that cue are they supposed to start recording. But contractors hired by device makers to review recordings for quality reasons report hearing clips that were most likely captured unintentionally, including drug deals and sex.

Two Northeastern University researchers, David Choffnes and Daniel Dubois, recently played 120 hours of television for an audience of smart speakers to see what activates the devices. They found that the machines woke up dozens of times and started recording after hearing phrases similar to their wake words.
“People fear that these devices are constantly listening and recording you. They’re not,” Mr. Choffnes said. “But they do wake up and record you at times when they shouldn’t.”
Rick Osterloh, Google’s head of hardware, recently said homeowners should disclose the presence of smart speakers to their guests. “I would, and do, when someone enters into my home, and it’s probably something that the products themselves should try to indicate,” he told the BBC last year.
Welcome mats might one day be swapped out for warning mats. Or perhaps the tech companies will engineer their products to introduce themselves when they hear a new voice or see a new face. Of course, that could also lead to uncomfortable situations, like having the Alexa in your bedside Echo Dot suddenly introduce herself to your one-night stand.
‘No Longer Shunned as Loonies’
The “bracelet of silence” is not the first device invented by researchers to stuff up digital assistants’ ears. In 2018, two designers created Project Alias, an appendage that can be placed over a smart speaker to deafen it. But Ms. Zheng argues that a jammer should be portable to protect people as they move through different environments, given that you don’t always know where a microphone is lurking.
At this point, the bracelet is just a prototype. The researchers say that they could manufacture it for as little as $20, and that a handful of investors have asked them about commercializing it.
“With the Internet of Things, the battle is lost,” Mr. Zhao said, referring to a lack of control over data captured by smart devices, whether it gets into the hands of tech companies or hackers.
“The future is to have all these devices around you, but you will have to assume they are potentially compromised,” he added. “Your circle of trust will have to be much smaller, sometimes down to your actual body.”
Other precursors to the bracelet include a “jammer coat” designed by an Austrian architecture firm in 2014 to block radio waves that could collect information from a person’s phone or credit cards. In 2012, the artist Adam Harvey created silver-plated stealth wear garments that masked people’s heat signature to protect them from the eyes of drones, as well as a line of makeup and hairstyles, called CV Dazzle, to thwart facial recognition cameras.

Image
Glasses developed by Scott Urban reflect infrared light from security cameras to blur out the wearer’s face.

Glasses developed by Scott Urban reflect infrared light from security cameras to blur out the wearer’s face.Credit...Reflectacles
In 2016, Scott Urban, an eyewear maker in Chicago, developed a line of reflective frames that turned back visible and infrared light. When a surveillance camera films a person wearing the $164 frames, the reflected light blurs out the face. Mr. Urban called them Reflectacles.
He is now working full time on privacy protection eyewear, including a new version with lenses that absorb infrared light to deter iris-scanning and facial recognition cameras. His customers include privacy enthusiasts, political activists and card counters whose faces have been placed on casinos’ watch lists.
“People into their privacy are no longer shunned as loonies,” Mr. Urban said. “It’s become a concern for people of all ages, political perspectives and walks of life.”
He added: “New technologies are continually eroding our privacy and anonymity. People are looking for an opt-out, which is what I’m trying to provide.”
Woodrow Hartzog, a law and computer science professor at Northeastern University, doesn’t think privacy armor is the solution to our modern woes.
“It creates an arms race, and consumers will lose in that race,” he said. “Any of these things is a half-measure or a stopgap. There will always be a way around it.”
Rather than building individual defenses, Mr. Hartzog believes, we need policymakers to pass laws that more effectively guard our privacy and give us control over our data.
“Until then, we’re playing cat and mouse,” he said. “And that always ends poorly for the mouse.”
 

Lemmingwise

Adorable
kiwifarms.net
On the one hand, it's a good foil. On the other it's like going into a major airport without a mobile phone; the fact that you're hard to track as you walk about attracts attention.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: BONE_Buddy

3119967d0c

a... brain - @StarkRavingMad
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Interesting. I'm not that confident about the ultrasound bracelet thing. MAGA will just use the recordings from their home as training for how to screen out ultrasound.

Besides, ultrasound can have psychological effects. That's not a great trade.
“People fear that these devices are constantly listening and recording you. They’re not,” Mr. Choffnes said.
An absolute shill.
 

JustWhy

Me... Fuggg
kiwifarms.net
“People fear that these devices are constantly listening and recording you. They’re not,”
'They are not listening all the time'
My ass! If smarphones can react to phrase like "okay google" all the time, it means they are listening.
 
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Reactions: BONE_Buddy

Shoggoth

kiwifarms.net
Interesting. I'm not that confident about the ultrasound bracelet thing. MAGA will just use the recordings from their home as training for how to screen out ultrasound.
Depends on the SNR, could be the mics just aren't good enough. Also sounds like it'll just create an arms race.
Besides, ultrasound can have psychological effects. That's not a great trade.
So does getting spied on constantly.
 

Smaug's Smokey Hole

no corona
kiwifarms.net
Cool, it's like a video game except in video games people don't react to you wearing a exceptional set of accessories. Wearing a Bracelet of Silence, silver-plated stealth pants and a +2 Jammer trench coat could be a huge charisma de-buff in the real world.
 

Shoggoth

kiwifarms.net
Cool, it's like a video game except in video games people don't react to you wearing a exceptional set of accessories. Wearing a Bracelet of Silence, silver-plated stealth pants and a +2 Jammer trench coat could be a huge charisma de-buff in the real world.
Just need to figure out how to make it into a cyberpunk fashion statement. Turn the silvery crap into a sleeveless vest, be buff, wear reflectacles, instead of a bracelet put the speakers on a shoulder mounted strip, and voila, you look like a budget cyberpunk movie extra
 

Smaug's Smokey Hole

no corona
kiwifarms.net
Just need to figure out how to make it into a cyberpunk fashion statement. Turn the silvery crap into a sleeveless vest, be buff, wear reflectacles, instead of a bracelet put the speakers on a shoulder mounted strip, and voila, you look like a budget cyberpunk movie extra
The problem will be finding something better that doesn't match your current set, so that cyberpunk getup will look like shit as soon as you find a LTE jamming propeller beanie.
 
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Reactions: 3119967d0c

Glad I couldn't help

Ohai!
kiwifarms.net
If they really worked, they would have been banned or will be banned in the near future (cf tech for evading speed cameras). Wouldn't be surprised if the rest were scams.
 
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