AN AMAZON Alexa ‘snooping-blocker’ that jams the microphone of your Echo smart speaker has been developed.
Audio-jamming device Alexagate has been created by startup company MSCHF.
The company sells a range of cynical products including toaster-shaped bath bombs.
Concerns about smart speakers eavesdropping surround the audio logs the devices keep when they’re listening out for a command.
Alexagate is designed to fit over your Echo speaker like a cap.
It emits pulsed ultrasound that jams the microphone and will stop it listening to your voice.
The tool has an on/off switch.
All you have to do is click it onto your speaker and tap it three times to turn it on.
Tap it three times again to turn it off.
Alexagate is only said to interfere with the microphone and not the speakers so you can still technically listen to music while using it.
MSCHF recommends not having the device turned on if you’re planning to listen to music for a long time.
You can buy Alexagate on MSCHF’s website for $99 (£77).
It’s said to work with the first, second and third-generation Amazon Echo Dot as well as the first and third generation Echo and the second generation Echo Plus.
As far as we know, Amazon isn’t using your Alexa to eavesdrop on everything you do.
But there is a big exception: Amazon will sometimes send your voice clips off to “graders”.
They will listen to clips to make sure Alexa is working as intended – improving the system all round.
However, Alexa will sometimes record you without your knowledge, because she thought you said her name.
This can result in her saving audio from your home – and you’ll have no idea she’s doing it.
The Sun recently revealed how Amazon-funded “graders” have heard family rows, conversations about money and audio from steamy romps.
The good news is that you can stop Alexa from sending your voice clips to strangers.
First, open the Amazon Alexa app and then navigate to Settings.
Then go to Alexa Privacy and then Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa.
You’ll find a page that explains: “Training Alexa with recordings from a diverse range of customers helps ensure Alexa works well for everyone.
“With this setting on, your voice recordings may be used to develop new features and manually reviewed to help improve our services.
“Only an extremely small fraction of voice recordings are manually reviewed.”
Amazon warns you that turning the setting off will mean “new features may not work well for you”.
But if you’d rather stay safe from snoopers, simply flick the switch off.
In other news, Apple’s latest iPhone could be the firm’s smallest in years, if one leaked photo is to be believed.
Amazon has been having a sale on some of its smart speakers.
And, Google Pixel Buds earbuds translate foreign languages into English in your ears.
Do you think your devices are listening to your private conversations? Let us know in the comments…
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