Boing Boing recently wrote about Babble, a piece of hardware that can be used in open office situations where levels of privacy are useful. It plugs into your desk phone and can be configured in about 10 minutes. It takes samples of the users voice, and interweaves these with actual conversations that are taking place, to ensure that "nonsense" is what any would-be eavesdroppers can hear.
It’s currently retailing in the US for $395 – and sounds like a real possibility for cubicle farms or for offices where colleageus are constantly on the phone. Many readers will be familiar with the difficulty in attempting to concentrate on any tasks while nearby colleagues or constantly on the phone or worse – having meetings.
For the cost though, this is definitely the type of product that you would actually like to sample or better still get first hand accounts of how effective it actually is. A few google searches for babble+audio+samples and variations of, didn’t find anything. Is anybody out there using this product and if so, how do you find it?
Most interesting from a health care perspective, are the developments of new versions that are currently in play. According to CNN, Sonare
..is already working on a newer incarnation of Babble exclusively
for the hospital and pharmacy environments, so that patients and
doctors exchanging sensitive information about a patient’s medical
condition cannot be overheard. The new device would not have to be
tethered to a telephone and would be able to mask more than one
person’s voice at a time….
When I initially heard about this product, this was the basis on which I understood it to actually work; This version would be ripe for usage in a wide variety of situations.