MSCHF, a tech company known for creating socially divisive technology has come up with its latest satirical product. “Alexagate” is a simple physical tool intended to avoid the surveillance on you by your Amazon Alexa or Echo, which are listening to you 24/7 whether you have them muted or not. When attached to the top of your Amazon Echo, the yellow add-on prevents the microphone from recording your conversations, allowing you to enjoy the smart speaker without feeling like you are under surveillance.
Sure, it may seem bizarre for a company to come up with a product that simply hampers the functionality and capability of another product, but this is one of the first products that actually prevents smart devices at home from constantly spying on and surveilling you. Yes, devices like Alexa and the Dot or Echo are meant to provide consumers with ultimate convenience by listening and reacting to what the owner says. Yes, it is nice to have the conveniences an Alexa provides, like playing a song by simply shouting it out, but at the same time, we have essentially thrown privacy out the window. Alexagate allows consumers the ease of mind that, when they place the yellow top on their Alexa, it is definitely not listening.
MSCHF’s Alexagate is incredibly simple to use. Clap three times, or tap the Alexagate three times, and it turns off so you can speak to your Echo just as normal. Clap another three times, and you’re guaranteed anonymity once again. The tool works by jamming the Echo microphone using pulsed ultrasound. What’s even better, the ultrasound is beyond the range of human hearing for adults so you won’t even be able to hear or notice the difference between when the Alexagate is on or off, other than the light.
Alexagate is limited in production and retails for $99. It works with Amazon Echo Dot 1st, 2nd and 3rd gen, Echo Plus 2nd gen, and Echo 1st and 3rd gen. If you have an Alexa or Echo in your house, we highly recommend spending the $99 for your privacy back. As MSCHF says in the Alexagate Manifesto, “The Amazon Echo records everything it hears in your home, 24/7, and archives it to Amazon’s cloud storage. The Always-On Evil Microphone is cartoonishly villainous yet wholly unsurprising. Perhaps you don’t subscribe to the notion that Facebook always listens through your phone’s mic, but ask yourself at least this in all honesty: Do you think the Echo ‘mute’ button really does anything?”