- Mschf has released an AlexaGate device that uses ultrasonic sound to block the Amazon Echo microphone.
- It appears to work, but is completely unnecessary – and raises questions about why you have a speaker.
It makes sense that you might be concerned about the privacy of Amazon Echo speakers and other devices that are always waiting for your orders, but a solution to that privacy may be overkill.
Geekologie Reports that the inventors of Mschf have released AlexaGate, a $ 99 add-on device that jams the microphone on most Echo speakers. Place it above your Echo and it uses seven ultrasonic speakers to neutralize the mix. You only need to clap or stop three times, and Alexa is not listening, so an indicator clarifies.
it works well. Mschf claimed that it could only get by screaming through Alexa, and then only from “six inches away”. In casual use, then, Alexa should not listen to one thing.
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AlexaGate is a statement about the technology’s privacy intrusion as much as it is a shipping product, but it is also completely unnecessary. These speakers have microphone mute buttons that are very cheap to use – and if you don’t trust that button to prevent the Echo from listening, why do you have a speaker in the first place?
There is also a question whether the concern is justified or not. Amazon is not recording continuous conversations like other voice assistant creators. The Echo waits for your keyword (such as “Alexa”) before recording anything, and then only for the duration of the command. It is more of a concern that an echo may accidentally detect a keyword and inadvertently record a conversation snippet. This is a valid issue, but not necessarily a warrant purchasing a gadget such as Alexgate.