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Ask HN: How many internet-connected microphones are near you at this moment?
27 points by cryptoz on July 21, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments

1. My mobile phone. Due to my habit of bodging desktops together out of whatever parts I happen to have lying around, the machine I'm currently working on doesn't actually have a microphone connected. Or, for that matter, case screws.

My webcam is disconnected thanks to an abortive attempt to couple it to a mini-projector to hack up a projected keyboard.

It'd be nice to state the intention of the question or elaborate it a little.

Also, add "Ask HN:" in the beginning please.

Added to the title. Thanks.

There's no specific intent to the question other than curiosity about the topic. It's inspired by the recent NSA news but I didn't intend conversation to be limited to that.

Thanks. That's the reason I asked about it. I have stopped reading or at least have not read or heard about any latest NSA news. So, I have no clue whatsoever.

I think I vaguely knew it was about privacy but was not sure why was the question being posed about the number of microphones. So, now I am curious about the story!

Two. One logitech G35 attached to a PC running Windows and one laptop internal microphone.

Turning on more devices would get me another laptop internal mic and the mics in a phone and a tablet.

Both laptops, the tablet, and the phone have 5 or 6 cameras in total. The desktop also has a camera, but it is pointed at a ceiling fan when not in use.

> The desktop also has a camera, but it is pointed at a ceiling fan when not in use.

I’d totally watch that, do you have a link? You could even sweeten the deal by throwing some socks at the fan at random times.

2 mics, 2 cams.

Say if you are running osx, and run the command:

    osascript -e 'set volume input volume 0'
the microphone still seems to be accepting inputs, can anyone else elaborate on why this is?

5 microphones and 5 cameras. Not very pleasant to think about. I used to keep a piece of electrical tape on my laptop's webcam but it looks like it came off, time to put a new one back on.

Is it possible that some app installed in my iPhone secretly transmits all my real world conversations while i am talking to people around me? Yes quite possible. Now think about it - What if Apple, Google or NSA had installed a secret code in our phones to spy on us? Scary isn't it?

One laptop. Two if oldschool nonsmart phone counts, it is connected to cell tower so I imagine it might count as well.

Wouldnt we see network activity if it was sending any kind of packets? Or could this be dark activity and hidden from normal network monitoring?

I have an old headphone that is plugging to the microphone socket of my laptop. So, one down, many more to go. Have not figure out a way to deal with microphone in mobile devices. Suggestions?

Uh, wouldn't this be more likely to get a signal? An (analog) headphone is a sort-of, piss-poor microphone in reverse, whereas a naked port doesn't magically pick up sounds from the ether...

By connecting something to the port you disable the internal mic. Just use a torn cable, or a headphone with missing or broken speakers.

There are usually two microphones in laptop, plug in one disables the other. I should say two down, more to go.

I can't find a source but I remember something on HN a while back about this not being the case with new MBPs. The input device is software-controlled now. If you care to search for it, it had to do with laptop security guidelines for employees of some government agency.

It is a scary thought. Never thought about it until now. Thanks.

Four mics, three cameras. Shouldn't this be a poll?

2 -

Phone, webcam.

Can't think of any others I'd have near me off hand.

I'd say 10 or more in my vicinity. Im in an office with mobiles, cisco ip phones, laptops and desktops everywhere. If you were talking about this floor... then that figure could easily go into the hundreds O_O !


This may have worked better as a Poll :)


1- SGS3- I9300 [AOSPA] {1 mic; 2 cameras}

2- Dell Inspiron- 1121z [Arch Linux] {1 mic; 1 camera}

I'm expecting a targeted add to sell me plastic camera covers and white noise mic aux ins later on the road because of this post. It's all good.

Three. Laptop mic, + a wi-fi connect ipad and iphone.

7 mics and 7 cameras.. in my bed room :(

3 mics. And I'm in the car.

zero, actually. Not super intentional. I tend to unplug my speakers and plug in the headset only when I need it. The cell phone is in the other room.

I did like the old days when forward facing cameras had slide shutters on them.

2 microphones, 0 cameras

No smartphone?

3 mics and 3 cameras...

Four, laptop webcam, another webcam, an usb mic and my phone.

Why is this question getting up voted and why is it relevant?

Four(that I know of):

Kindle Keyboard Two phones Hands-free Bluetooth device



4 mics, 4 cameras.


Lucius Fox

Why is this getting down-voted?

It's simply a Dark Knight reference to Batman's microphone-array self-destruct password.

I have one microphone near me, connected to the internet. The technology in the Dark Knight was novel to me. I was already aware of law enforcement remotely arming a mic on a normal cellphone at that time[1]. I am pretty sure fixed lines can be bugged in a similar fashion. As anyone who watched it with an interest in technology, I was fascinated by the pooling of microphones to generate a sonar like map of Gotham.

What struck me recently, as that was a piece of art, there are two possibilities (non-mutually exclusive). That the technology already existed and art was imitating life, or that people were inspired thereafter to create the technology and life was imitating art. Certainly both could be true and I'm willing to entertain a third possibility that noone bothered, but that seems unlikely to me.

[1] http://news.cnet.com/2100-1029_3-6140191.html

You're new here. Pro tip: only useful comments which contribute to the discussion get up-voted.

To add to what maaku said, puns, memes, and "funny" jokes tend not to go over very well here (thankfully).

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