Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Recalculations place it at 0.4999.

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Secret Voice

Private conversations in crowded rooms
  (+2, -4)
(+2, -4)
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This is an idea for using publc key crypto techniques to hold secret conversations in circumstances where your utterances may be easily overheard.

First off, you need implants inserted between the auditory nerves and the brain, and between the vocal chords and the brain. For normal conversations, these would operate in pass through mode.

When you (A) wish to engage secret voice, you say a code word, which your vocal implant detects, and modulates (in some suitable way outside the scope of this article) with your public key. The listener's auditory implant detects this modulation, and alerts its owner that secret voice has been requested (possibly by a soft chime).

If the listener (B) wishes to engage, he utters an acknowlegment word, which is detected by his vocal implant. This generates a random session key, encrypts it with the received public key, and modulates the ack word. A's auditory implant decodes this with her private key, and stashes the session key.

A and B both now have the session key, and their implants use this to encode and decode the conversation. Eavesdroppers not privy to the key will hear some randomly generated conversation about the weather or such.

Mickey the Fish, May 10 2002


       Pretty magical, no?
phoenix, May 10 2002


       you and your friend should just learn an obscure foreign language although sign language works well too...
runforrestrun, May 10 2002

       "Chief, shouldn't we be using the Cone of Silence?"
quarterbaker, May 10 2002

       WIBNI? I respectfully disagree. Mickey's put too much detail into this. It might not work, but it's definately an idea.   

       Personally, I'd worry about lip-readers...
yamahito, May 10 2002

       I think for practical reasons you'd want the modulation to happen in your brain, between the part of the brain that generates phonemes, and the part that controls the mouth and throat. Experiments have shown that people process language on the level of phonemes (perceiving language as a sequence of discrete phonemes, and being skilled at distinguishing and separating different phonemes in their own language, but less so those in other languages), so we would have to hack into this channel in the neural process, and convert the phoneme sequence into a different phoneme sequence. We would however probably have to generate a sequence of phonemes that fits in with the morphological structure of the communicators' language, since they would be better at discerning speech sounds that resembled their own language as much as possible.
pottedstu, May 10 2002

       phoneme > phone me
thumbwax, May 11 2002


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