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Fiber-Optic Cables Could Be Used for Spying

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Fiber-optic cables illuminate.

Credit: Russell Kord/Alamy

A device capable of eavesdropping on people up to 1 km (0.6 mile) away using existing fiber-optic cables has been built by researchers at China's Tsinghua University. The device detects changes in light triggered when someone speaks near an optical fiber; researchers uttered the phrase, "It's nine-fifteen" near a cable that was transmitting data.

About 3 m (9.8 ft.) of the fiber was exposed to the sound, while the remaining 1.1 km (0.68 mile) was spooled in another room where the device was connected. The clarity of the words the device detected could be improved with computer speech enhancement, according to Tsinghua's Bo Wang.

From New Scientist
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