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They found that the gyroscopes in mobile phones were sensitive enough to allow them to pick up some sound waves, turning them into crude microphones, said a detailed report by Andy Greenberg this week about their work, in Wired. The team themselves said their work demonstrated "an unexpected threat resulting from the unmitigated access to the gyro: applications and active web content running on the phone can eavesdrop sound signals, including speech, in the vicinity of the phone."
Recognizing Speech from Gyroscope Signals, they said, gyroscopes are present in most of the modern smartphones. They measure angular velocity. Every application and website can access them without the user's consent. "We show that we can use gyroscopes to eavesdrop on speech without using the microphone at all, which can potentially risk private information such as identity, social security and credit card numbers."