Secure Data Transmission with Ultrasound

Precursor Project Ultrasound Firewall and Legal Considerations
Through the so-called audiotracking, mobile phones and tablets can use ultrasound to track the users’ behavior unnoticed – such as which videos they watch or their whereabouts. Last year in the spring, Zeppelzauer and his colleagues published their app SoniControl which can block acoustic tracking. They are currently further developing the app in order to make it even more attractive to users. It is supposed to be integrated into the SoniTalk protocol in the future to guarantee secure data transmission there.

Following the publication of SoniControl, two legal experts from Vienna specializing in data protection and IT carried out a legal assessment for this form of tracking and called for more transparency in dealing with the new technology. According to them, the explicit consent of the users to data transmission via ultrasound is an essential element – SoniTalk and its underlying technological protocol now solve this issue.

Companies Wanted: Benefit for Industry, Art and Everyday Life
SoniTalk enables new functions and services for the digitalization: for example, SoniTalk could be used to authenticate and verify data and persons, to track objects in production (asset tracking), the set up local networks (ad-hoc networks), for mobile payment and money transfer, the pairing of devices, and the control of smart homes.

In the near future, SoniTalk is supposed to be practice-tested in its first Industry 4.0 applications. For this purpose, Matthias Zeppelzauer and his colleagues are currently developing a suitable ultrasound beacon (a type of loudspeaker) for location-dependent services on the basis of SoniTalk. This beacon is then supposed to be made available as free and open-format hardware.

According to Zeppelzauer, the target group includes companies and persons in the IT sector and Industry 4.0, providers of indoor navigation systems and cashless/contactless payment systems, artists and museums wishing to design interactive exhibitions, and the open-source community.

As the new technology is available as an open-source system, interested parties, developers and companies can adapt and improve it as needed. The researchers of the St. Pölten UAS are also planning to further develop the technology behind SoniTalk and are currently searching for companies looking to gain an advantage through the new technology.

See more in an article by Matthias Zeppelzauer on the risks and opportunities of ultrasound communication titled “Data Over Sound”; SoniTalk project; SoniTalk project on netidee webpage; Project video