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Archive of posts published in the category: spying

This weird new gadget stops Amazon's Alexa spying on you


Your spying gadget needs an anti-spying gadget. Somewhere, John Le Carré sniggers.


It was the column that launched screams around America.

Last week, I wrote about a UK law firm that suggested Amazon’s Alexa and her cohorts should be switched off before you have any confidential work-related conversations.

Now that you’re likely working from home, this seemed like important news.

Naturally, I received many tweets from the nation’s freedom fighters, insisting that no, they’d never have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod in their castles.

However, I also heard from the inventively paranoid. Or, rather from the people behind Paranoid.

“Yo,” these people said. “We have a gadget for that.”

“Not another bloody gadget,” I grunted. “Isn’t it the ultimate in never-ending Horror Hall Of Mirrors when a new gadget tries to solve the security problem of another gadget?”

(Yes, I paraphrased that exchange somewhat.)

But here,

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This gadget promises to stop Alexa and Google Home from spying on you

Are you worried that your Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speaker is spying on you? A new device called Paranoid —  yup, that’s the name — might offer a little relief.

All three Paranoid models block your smart speaker from listening to you until you say the Paranoid’s own wake word, “Paranoid”, after which the gizmo lets the smart speaker listen in. 

The simplest Paranoid device, the Home Button, sits on your Amazon Echo’s Mute button and keeps it pressed. The intermediate one, the Home Wave, jams the microphones on Echo and Google Home devices. 

The most complicated setup, the Home Max, has you ship your smart speaker to Paranoid headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta. There, Paranoid’s technicians will snip the speaker’s microphone cable and attach it to an external Paranoid device, then ship the speaker back to you.

Despite the different levels of work involved, all three devices list

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