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Setting is the near future - we have perfected VR/AR and can provide low-latency communication via satellites in low earth orbit.

My company wants to provide a virtual conferencing service with maximum privacy, where bosses of organized crime can broker deals with government officials, where super-rich can fulfill their desires with a companion on the other side of the planet. All activities should be safe against eavesdropping and impersonation, but still be at least moderately comfortable. Possible threats include one participant recording the conversation to blackmail the other participants (e.g. an entertainment worker recording their client or a crime-boss recording the government official)

What we can provide: We have a net of private satellites for worldwide communication and we have secure algorithms for end-to-end encryption. Our service will be provided in a service center in all major cities. - We can deliver the whole service-center in sealed containers, build in our company headquarters, so no one can bug the place beforehand. We will also have highly paid personell with background checks and redundant checks and video surveillance from workers in other countries.

I currently cannot find a feasible solution against clients smuggling in miniature recording devices to record the session. Even if I can completely scan and wipe the room before a client enters to prevent someone else from planting a device, the client could smuggle in a small device. I don't want to make the service very inconvenient - If the clients for example would need to strip down and wait 24 hours - super-rich people would not like to use this service very much.

How can I secure my service against this threat and possible other threats ? The service can be very expensive, but should not be very inconvenient to use. Answers should be science-based but can include minimal handwaving.

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  • $\begingroup$ How is this really any different than what we have today? VR doesn't really seem to matter, we have video calls. And super private meetings between organised crime and politicians also happen. Any party can bring in a variety of spying devices to such meetings regardless of where and how they happen. You can go buy an array of privacy breaching devices online. I even went to a "spy shop" recently (the reason was actually too boring). where people are happy to consult you on the best type of hidden cam or microphone to get. Overall, the problems of the future seem like the problems of today. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Jan 26 '21 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ User will be submerged butt naked inside a liquid tank with only a bunch of cables attached... Welcome to the future of spa online! $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jan 26 '21 at 13:51
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The room is inside a Faraday cage, so only the dedicated line the room itself uses can get data outside the room. When you enter and leave the room, you go through a powerful EM-field that fill fry/erase any electronics or recordings.

A recording device would have to be small, to be smuggled in, but then it can't be hardened against the EM field. If it's hardened against the EM field, it won't be small enough to smuggle in.

Oh and in case you have a pacemaker, don't use the facility :)

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  • $\begingroup$ I think the strong EM-Field frying any electronics on your way in seems like a solid way - since the person is also scanned like in an airport, he can only smuggle in microscopic devices and these are fried - a good way, as long as cybernetic implants are not common-place in the future. $\endgroup$
    – Falco
    Jan 27 '21 at 8:45
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    $\begingroup$ Agreed, but if implants are a thing, it's likely they could be used to record the conversation. So it would of course be policy that users will not be having implants. In a world where implants need to be accepted, there is absolutely no way to guarantee a call is not recorded. $\endgroup$ Jan 27 '21 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ the only way could probably be "sealed" standard implants by a big corporation, which can be checked for integrity and the big corp guarantees that these implants are tamper-proof and cannot be used to record stuff. $\endgroup$
    – Falco
    Jan 28 '21 at 9:29
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  1. Set up soundproofed, em-hardened rooms in each customer's house.

  2. Hard-wire a connection to the dark net.

    • You'll need to check this every so often (about once a week or so should do) for wiretaps.
  3. Use onion routing to disguise the position of a geographically separate location which broadcasts and receives video feeds to and from your satellites.

    • Again, you'll need to check the integrity of these stations fairly often.

However, I would possibly consider skipping or altering step #1. Police raids and snooping superheroes are going to immediately pick up on a soundproofed, EM-hardened room, no matter how hard you try to hide it. As a result, it could actually make your customers less secure. Instead, *just* soundproof a normal room and then install a piano. While not common, there are people who specifically design rooms (or even whole wings) of their McMansions houses to allow them to rock out on their pianos; by placing a piano in there you have a decent alibi

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  • $\begingroup$ While this seems like a possible way agains external surveillance, this will not help against one client recording the other one in a conference, because he can just record the whole session in his private room. $\endgroup$
    – Falco
    Jan 27 '21 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Falco That I know of, there really isn't a way to prevent the clients themselves from recording each other. $\endgroup$
    – The Daleks
    Jan 27 '21 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @MichealMortensen tries to address this in his answer. $\endgroup$
    – Falco
    Jan 28 '21 at 9:16
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Pure brain communication.

Your client sits quietly in a room. In a virtual space where the confierence is being held, she controls an avatar using only her mind.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/type-with-your-mind-weve-achieved-a-first-in-brain-computer-research-says-facebook/

Facebook thinks a machine that decodes words in the brain's speech center could offer the speed of voice and the privacy of text.

"The promise of AR lies in its ability to seamlessly connect people to the world that surrounds them – and to each other," Facebook researchers said in a blog.

"Rather than looking down at a phone screen or breaking out a laptop, we can maintain eye contact and retrieve useful information and context without ever missing a beat. It's a tantalizing vision, but one that will require an enterprising spirit, hefty amounts of determination, and an open mind."

In the room where your client is sitting, there is nothing to hear except the soft smacking of her whiskey-flavored chewing gum and nothing to see except her.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a good option to stop any external recording. But if the Client "receives" the conference via some device, which sends Brain-Waves into his head, could he not implant himself a chip, which records these waves? And thus record the whole conference ? $\endgroup$
    – Falco
    Jan 27 '21 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Falco - that is the germ of a great story. Transmit / receive equipment is bulky. Genius miniaturizes it to chip for spy to use as you describe. Works well! Too well. This chip receives a lot of other information on this frequency. Other brain waves and more stuff besides. He cant get it out. He cant turn it off. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jan 27 '21 at 15:15

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