- Mschf has released an Alexagate device that uses ultrasonic sound to block Amazon Echo microphones.
- It seems to work, but it’s unnecessary – and it raises questions about why you have a speaker.
It is understood that you may be concerned about the privacy of Amazon Echo speakers and other devices that are always waiting for your command, but one solution to that privacy may be excessive.
Geology reports that the inventors of Mschf have released Alexagate, a $ 99 device that raises microphones on many Echo speakers. Place it on your Echo and use seven ultrasonic speakers to neutralize the microphones. You need to hold it three times to turn it on or off, and an indicator makes it clear when Alexa is not listening.
This is supposed to work well. Mschf claimed she could only pass Alexa by shouting, and then only by “six inches away.” Random use, then, Alexa should not hear anything.
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Alexagate is just as much a statement about technology privacy intrusions as it is a shipping product, but it’s also unnecessary. These speakers have silent buttons with a microphone that are much cheaper to use – and if you don’t trust that button to prevent the Echo from hearing, why do you have the speaker in the first place?
There is also a question of whether the concern is justified or not. Amazon, like other voice assistant creators, doesn’t always record conversations. Eco waits for your keywords (like “Alexa”) before you start recording anything, and then only for the duration of the command. The concern is more that Echo may mistakenly misplace keywords and mistakenly record conversation snippets. This is a legitimate issue, but not necessarily one that requires you to buy a gadget like Alexagate.