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Security & privacy

Keep your Amazon Echo from listening in with ‘Alexagate’ jamming device

It’s no secret that smart speakers are always listening. How else would they be able to pick up on the wake word and know when you’re asking a question? There literally is no other way.

Listening is one thing, but recording and storing conversations is something completely different. You might be shocked at how many times smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa accidentally record your conversations, often because it “hears” the wrong wake word. Tap or click here to find out how to stop it from happening.

While there are some simple and sensible ways to block smart speakers from listening in, (like, you know, unplugging them) it’s apparently not always enough. Privacy is important and we always advocate taking steps to stay protected but this comical new device might just be a bridge too far.

A device perfect for the tinfoil hat crowd

Smart assistants can easily turn your house into a smart home and with a smart assistant control everything with just your voice. Want to turn the upstairs light on before you head up? No worries, just ask Alexa.

Can’t sleep because it’s just too warm in your bedroom? Not a problem. Just ask Alexa to adjust the temperature with your smart thermostat and you’ll be sawing logs in no time without ever having to crawl out of bed.

Don’t know where to begin turning your house into a smart home? Tap or click here for our starter kit and find out what to buy first.

As you can see, the benefits of having smart speakers are great. But, as with most technology, there are some privacy concerns that come with all that convenience. The fact that Alexa is always listening doesn’t sit well with everyone.

RELATED: How to hear and delete everything Amazon has recorded you saying

Which is why one company took those fears to the extreme with its new device called Alexagate. No, seriously, that’s what it’s called. It sits right on top of your Alexa-enabled device and incorporates seven ultrasonic speakers which are used to “jam” Alexa’s microphone.

The most wondrous part is how you activate Alexagate. Are you sitting down? To activate Alexagate, you simply clap your hands three times. Clapping three times in a row turns jamming on or off. Now you can block Bezos and company from listening in while also fondly reminiscing about those old Clapper commercials from decades past.

How much would you be willing to pay for an Alexa jammer? This thing goes for $99, which is double the price of an Amazon Echo Dot.

How to protect your privacy from Alexa without any trickeration

You’re right in wanting to protect your privacy, but you don’t need to add extra devices to do it. There really is an easy way to stop Alexa from listening whenever you want to.

RELATED: 1,000 phrases can trigger your smart assistant

To prevent Alexa from listening to you, simply switch off your Echo’s microphone. There is an on/off button on the top of the device, and whenever the button is red, the mic is off. To reactivate it, just press the button again. Easy peasy.

Keep in mind that muting the mic will stop Echo from listening, however, disabling it will also defeat the purpose of these smart speakers. Yes, your Echo device provides some pretty great sound quality, especially for a Bluetooth speaker, but you won’t be able to deliver commands. And that’s the main purpose of Alexa, to begin with.

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