You Can Hear but You Cannot Record: Privacy Protection by Jamming Audio Recording

Xiaosong Ma, Yubo Song, Zhongwei Wang, Shang Gao, Bin Xiao, Aiqun Hu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Unauthorized voice recording via smartphones can leak the talking content stealthily. This would be a serious security threat to those individuals, enterprises and the government who need to keep the conversation confidential. Furthermore, due to the size miniaturization of smartphones, it is hard to find the covert recording from malicious attendees. Existing solutions usually jam the recording with audible noise or electromagnetic emitting. However, the audible noise will seriously interfere with conversation and the effect of electromagnetic emitting will be limited by the distance. In this paper, we propose UltraArray, a pioneering silent ultrasonic anti-recording jammer, which can covertly block recording for a long distance. The principle of covert blocking is inspired by acoustic parametric array theory, which suggests that the audible frequency wave can be spread through the air silently while it is modulated to an inaudible ultrasonic frequency. The modulation used in this paper is double sideband (DSB) modulation. The microphone on the phone will record the audible frequency and filtering out the ultrasonic frequency. The jammer we developed uses an acoustics array to form a beam to spread the signal further. The evaluation shows that the device has a good jamming effect on more than 5 meters for most Android smartphones. It will also work well with more than 2.5 meters effective distance on iPhone XR, which has the active noise control (ANC) function. Those results achieve ten times the interference ability of existing solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICC 2021 - IEEE International Conference on Communications, Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781728171227
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
Event2021 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2021 - Virtual, Online, Canada
Duration: 14 Jun 202123 Jun 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Communications
ISSN (Print)1550-3607


Conference2021 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Acoustic parametric array
  • anti-recording
  • ultrasonic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'You Can Hear but You Cannot Record: Privacy Protection by Jamming Audio Recording'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this