Quiet.js broadcasts data from your browser as ultrasound

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/01/quiet-js-broadcasts-data-from.html


I’m stumped.

Are you?

It’s a js library for moving data from one device to another without necessarily the user noticing via physical perception, or even with relatively advanced tools that monitor the various network and data busses on the computer.

This is a tool for controlling people’s computers and leaking their data without their permission.

Imagine if some bloatware on your phone listened for this (likely there already is), and each ad on screen in the browser broadcasted your browser fingerprint and ad ID in ultrasound. Now adnetworks have positive ID on both your computer and phone.

Now have the TV broadcast that ultrasound. And other people’s phones. Now ad networks know where you live, and who you interact with regularly without even needing to track you using Facebook.


Ah no, I guess I’m not stumped.

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good luck with this !! several years ago , i failed miserably at an online hearing test - i went to my gp and then a hearing specialist - turns out my ears are fine ( or age appropriate anyway ) , my speakers are just lousy ! and , they have likely not improved with age !

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For this horror-story scenario to work, the advertisers who want to collect your data would need to have thousands and thousands of microphones capable of picking up that sound all over the country and have them all networked together.

Did you miss the part where a german study found hundreds of android apps and 10% of stores using this tech two years ago?


So, would the defense be to keep those functions separate and disable the microphone on the device with the browser? :thinking:

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There’s millions of phones infected with Spyware straight from the damn manufacturer

Google assistant is Always recording.


I think there are some plausible scenarios where it could be used by dissidents (or even spies) needing to transfer data in close proximity, without anyone able to observe which parties are involved in the data transfer. But yeah, it’s rife for exploitation by adtech.


I’m honestly not sure if you are being sarcastic or not. Because that is exactly what they have. Either way, your comment made me laugh out loud, so thanks :slight_smile:


and , not to put a torn raincoat upon an errant horse , but , maybe , i responded similarly to a november 1 , 2013 bong blog concerning an almost identical topic !! “”" [edthehippie]
November 1
heheheehhe my previous computer speakers were so bad at the high end , so much roll-off , that i actually had my hearing checked !! i am fine !! ( and running slightly better speakers ) most computer speakers roll off real bad !! ah , ehehheehehh !! and , my cheapo computer microphone , which is almost never plugged in , but is around here somewhere ~ tangled up with my old c-64 serial disk drive cables most likely , also had a verrry narrow bandpass , like old telephones , only worse !! hheheeheheeheh !! but , do be carefull out here !! “”""
< old hippie’s repetitive story telling disorder is NOT a bug , it is a feature >

happy halloween again !!


Yes I missed that because the article posted here mentioned no such thing and the links in that article do not go to a place that says anything about any German study.


So post a link to a site that gives verifiable information about it. I’m sure it would be interesting reading.

Let me check my notes…



Neither is inaudible, by a long shot. I couldn‘t hear the ultrasonic at comfortable music-in-the-office levels, though it worked just fine. But when I cranked the amp, I heard it as a white noise sort of hiss that sounded way lower than 10k, much less 19k. I wonder if I was throwing it out at such power that the reflections built up harmonics at lower frequencies?

ya I knew of various Advertising angles on this tech but immediately thought of data transmission within a room for normal nasty spying reasons.

me explaining it to kid: well, think of it as an over the air modem for data transmission.
kid looking dumbfounded: whats a modem

this technique has also been tried with flickering lights and cameras on the idea that humans can ignore flashing lights if its fast enough. also lasers for long distances. I personally like lasers at distance against windows to register vibrations for sound recording. data packets over anything conductive including human skin is a thing too.

basically anything that is a sensor can be used for data transmission. even QR Codes count and optical readers which means human eyes too I guess.

as for tech and stories that repeat themselves every four or five years I don’t blame the media but I blame science for not advancing fast enough their good or bad ideas.

Seems like a great way to bridge air gapped networks.