If you’re not sure if your devices are always listening, we’ll help you out. They are. Your smartphone, smart assistants/speakers, smart home devices and smart TVs listen for wake words or other vocal cues. Big Tech companies also listen to you through your devices.
Facebook says it doesn’t listen unless you allow it to. The problem is you may not even know if you gave permission or not. Tap or click here for three ways to ensure that Facebook isn’t eavesdropping.
No matter what you hear from a company, assume that your voice-assistant-equipped devices always listen. There are some ways you can stop this, such as fiddling with your settings. But one company decided to go in another direction.
Here’s the backstory
There are workarounds to keep your conversations private, and the Pozio Cradle is one clever example of a hack that also provides another useful function.
The Pozio Cradle is a wireless charging dock that wraps around your entire phone. It uses “patented technology” to prevent the microphone from listening. This consists of a “subaudible sound to block your smartphone from eavesdropping on your conversations.”
You won’t hear the sound the cradle produces (and your pets won’t hear it either), but it’s enough to block the microphone from hearing anything else. And it does all this while wirelessly charging your phone’s battery.
You don’t need to sync it or install any apps. Just plug it in, place your phone in the cradle and it automatically starts blocking. Outgoing audio from your phone, such as music, will not be blocked by the Pozio, so you can still use your smartphone’s speaker functions.
You can pause the blocking function at any time by saying Pozio, stop. This will give you 30 seconds to speak any commands you’d like to your phone. There’s an indicator light to let you know when the blocking returns.
The Pozio Cradle comes in white or black and costs $119. Go to pozio.com/products/pozio-cradle-block-talk to get yours.
Big Tech has big ears
Big Tech companies use your devices to listen to your conversations and serve you with targeted ads and other personalized content. They can build a profile of you and use the data themselves or sell it to others.
One way to prevent this is to change the settings on your devices. You can turn off your microphone access for individual apps on your phone and turn off the microphone on your smart speakers and security systems. Tap or click here for instructions on how to do this and more.
When it comes to your phone or tablet, there’s a physical method to stop the microphone from listening by literally plugging the hole. A microphone blocker disables your device’s microphone and blocks all audio. Tap or click here for more, along with a DIY option.