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Alexa Echo snooping-blocker from MSCHF could protect your privacy

The Alexagate device jams your Echo's microphone.

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- 01:46
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Alexagate fits on top of your Alexa device and jams the microphone, according to MSCHF. 

MSCHF/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Home assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo help us with everything from remembering where we left our phones to shutting off the bedroom lights at night. But these devices have raised privacy concerns due to the audio logs they keep as they listen for your command.

To protect your privacy, a startup called MSCHF has developed an audio-jamming device called Alexagate. MSCHF, a company that runs on "structured chaos," according to a report from Business Insider, has a slew of viral and cynical products like toaster-shaped bath bombs and Holy Water-filled sneakers. 

Alexagate is a cap that fits over your Alexa Echo and uses pulsed ultrasound to jam the microphone. The tool can toggle on and off, so you can use your Alexa Echo when you want. Just clap or tap the device three times to turn it on. Repeat to turn it off.

Since Alexagate doesn't interfere with the Echo's speakers, you can still have it on and listen to music. MSCHF does recommend turning off Alexagate if you plan on listening to music for a long period of time. 

Amazon said that customers concerned about privacy can also simply turn off an Alexa device's microphone. You'll know its off when a red light illuminates on the device. When the microphone is turned off, your device can't stream audio to the cloud, even when you say your chosen wake word, according to Amazon.

Amazon also has an auto-delete function that can delete voice recordings older than three or 18 months scrubbed on an ongoing basis. Users can also say "Alexa, delete what I just said" and "Alexa, delete what I said today" to delete select voice data. The company also pointed to its device privacy FAQ for further clarification.

Alexagate works with the first-, second- and third-generation Amazon Echo Dot, the second generation Echo Plus, and the first and third generation Echo. The device costs $99 on MSCHF's website. 

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