from Bill Still
Good morning, I’m still reporting on technology.
I first started writing this story two days ago, but wanted to dig deeply into the technology before I went with it.
This started out on Friday when a blog called “The Ferocious Conservative Activist Bulletin, apparently written by a John Gaultier, printed a warning to Donald Trump that Hillary Clinton may wear a secret transceiver device hidden in her ear during the debates to prompt her with advice.
An in-the-ear transceiver is a device that allows the wearer to receive prompts from off stage, and even to talk back to the prompter in the lowest whisper.
The Gaultier article also claimed that President Obama wore one during the 2012 debates.
Gaultier shows a number of pictures of Hillary Clinton inserting wired earbuds into her ears . These photos are irrelevant to this discussion. He also shows pictures of President Obama – some of which could easily be photoshopped fakes – but two of them clearly show the President with his left hand up to his left ear as though he is adjusting the volume of an earpiece.
There are many other pictures associated with this piece, but these are the only two that I find credible in any way that may suggest that Obama is wearing a transceiver earpiece.
So what is this transceiver thing? Well, transceiver earpieces have been around for some time, but they are getting very, very sophisticated now.
They have been used on Broadway and on movie sets for prompting actors when they forget their lines.
They have been used as spy tools and for police undercover work.
But the latest is they are being advertised as high dollar cheating devices to be used by students who want to score a perfect grade on SAT tests, for example. This piece ran in the Daily Mail.
“The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is investigating concerns that students could be using the devices linked to mobile phones or MP3 players.
“A Canadian company is openly promoting the invisible, wireless ‘micro spy earphone’ to exam candidates around the world….
“The Toronto-based company, Examear, uses the advertising slogan: ‘Helping students succeed. Worldwide!’ “
Examear also states:
“The wireless earphone is extremely small, and is not visible in the ear, this makes it a perfect helper to complete the desired test/presentation/etc.”
Their “silver” model:
“…was especially designed for high school, and greatly fits the needs of students who are doing a test, exam or any class assignment.”
So the silver model is only an RF receiver. But their gold model is a full blown transceiver:
“The Gold model boasts a highly sensitive microphone which would pick up a student’s voice even if they whisper.”
Of course, the folks who administer college testing in the UK are outraged that this technology is being openly advertised in Britain. According to Isabel Nisbet, Director of Regulation and Standards at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority – or QCA:
“As a regulator we take malpractice very seriously and will be taking any action we can.”
A report commissioned by the QCA suggested using technology to stop mobile phone signals working in exam halls.
But that would mean turning testing rooms into military-grade SCIF’s – where TOP SECRET information can be discussed – which block all incoming or outgoing RF – or radio frequency – transmissions.
In other words, it’s expensive and not easy to do. However in the U.S. during a presidential debate, such blocking tactics are impossible, and the stakes could not be higher.
A presidential campaign can turn on a candidate’s performance at a single debate. It would be malfeasance for a candidate not to try to take advantage of such technology.
The setup would be something like this. A base station relay would be deployed within a few hundred feet of the candidate’s ear transceiver.
The base station would connect the wearer thru the cellular system to a discrete and secure number for the White House, for example.
The base station could even be disguised inside a cell phone of someone sitting in the front row of the audience.
In the situation room of the White House, a team of top advisors would assemble to make quick suggestions for responses to every question. Of course, the candidate would need some training to be able to utilize this advice in his ear, but that training technology is well established where the stakes are high.
It’s called “blue phoning”. It’s used by high-value sales managers to train new salespeople, who know little about sales methods or how to answer complex questions.
John Gaultier quotes sales manager Mark McGrew who has used the technique extensively:
“A manager listens in to a call between a salesman and his customer. The customer can not hear the manager.
“The call is recorded so that the salesman can listen to it later, over and over again, until he understands what to do when he is on his own.