This newly developed add-on accessory uses ultrasonic technology to jam the tech giant from recording conversations.
The Alexagate is made up of a white noise hat and mounting ring.
Words by Hugh Metcalf
We’ve all had those moments – one minute you’re telling a friend about needing a new washing machine, the next your phone is bombarded with ads for the very same. It’s become widely accepted that many of the smart assistants we’ve welcomed into our homes are spying on us, but none so much wear the mantle of Orwellian-esque surveillance than Amazon’s Alexa.
However, the Alexagate, a new device designed and developed by MSCHF, aims to offer those who are still committed to use Amazon smart devices an opt-out.
The Alexagate retails for $99, double the price of an Echo Dot in the US.
The Alexagate is essentially an add-on component which sits atop an Echo device. It incorporates seven ultrasonic speakers that jam Alexa’s listening capabilities when turned on.
To allow access to the functionality of the Echo’s voice assistant when the user wants, clap three times and the Alexagate will turn on or off its jamming system.
Seven ultrasonic speakers in the device jam Alexa’s background listening when switched on.
Do you really need one? The idea that Amazon is spying on us is one of the modern great everyday conspiracies, but it’s not without merit. Not only have filed patents shown that Jeff Bezo’s range of Echo devices listen to conversations outside of their ‘wakeword’, but Amazon even admitted that a number of staff had listened to private conversations recorded by Alexa devices in the name of improving speech recognition.
Clap three times to turn the Alexagate on and off.
The device is available to buy now for $99 as a limited edition drop from its own dedicated website, but it’s hard not to see the Alexagate as less of a viable product that everybody needs (if you’re truly worried about privacy, avoiding Amazon smart devices may be a better path) and more of a PR stunt to draw attention to Amazon’s less-than-scrupulous business practices.