acoustic snooping
pp. Stealing typed data by decoding the sounds of the keyboard strokes.

Example Citations:
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered that by making highly accurate recordings of computer keyboard strokes, they were able to reconstruct e-mail messages, retrieve data entered into a report, and recreate passwords typed into a secured Web site, essentially overhearing Internet conversations, says The Futurist magazine. They used audio gear available over-the-counter. "The message from this study is that there is no easy escape from this acoustic snooping," contends Doug Tygar, one of the researchers.
—Michael Kesterton, "Social Studies," The Globe and Mail, December 27, 2005

Let's all calm down just a little and stop being so worried about who's watching and what someone might steal from us. "Acoustic snooping" can now slide to the very bottom of the list of things to worry about. We will leave all of that to the "top secret" organizations we'll never know about.

My advice to all of you: Type as loudly as you possibly can.
—Macie Schreibman, "Conscious Commentary," The Daily Aztec, September 19, 2005

Earliest Citation:
Forget about watching, Big Brother may be listening.

Sounds from typing on computer keyboards are distinctive enough to be decoded, allowing security breaches caused by "acoustic snooping," University of California, Berkeley researchers said last week.

The researchers said they were able to feed sound recordings of typing on keyboards into a computer and use an algorithm to recover up to 96% of the keyboard characters entered by typists.
—"Keys unlock typists' text," Reuters, September 14, 2005

Notes:
Original paper on which this phrase is based (PDF):

Keyboard Acoustic Emanations Revisited

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