Have you ever felt like your smart speaker is listening in on your private conversations? You may have dismissed those feelings as paranoia, but you wouldn’t be completely off the mark – voice assistants can sometimes mishear their wake words, activating when you don’t want them to.
If that sends shivers down your spine, you may be interested in the latest smart speaker gadgets from Paranoid, which the company says “block smart speakers from listening, while keeping them voice-activated.”
How do they do this? Well, in the case of the Paranoid Home Wave, this gadget sits on top of your smart speaker, and “discreetly generates noise and interference in close proximity to the smart speaker’s microphones to jam them.”
If you want to activate your smart speaker, you’d have to say “Paranoid” before making your usual commands.
Paranoid says that, “the noise generated by Paranoid Home Wave will not be perceptible to the human ear or cause any sort of disruption or distraction.” Like all of its products, the Home Wave costs $39, and can be found on the Paranoid website – that works out at around £30 / AU$60, though shipping is only available in the US and Canada at the time of writing.
Push the button
If your smart speaker comes with a mute button – like the Amazon Echo Dot, for example – you could try out the Paranoid Home Button. This USB-powered device physically pushes your smart speaker’s mute button and then “re-engages it after you have finished your voice command.”
What if you don’t trust the efficacy of the mute button? Aside from considering the fact that you may not want a smart speaker in your home at all, you could try the Paranoid Home Max.
This more extreme option requires you to ship your smart speaker to Paranoid’s service centers, where “technicians physically cut the microphone and bypass the signal to go through the Paranoid circuitry.”
Your smart speaker would then be returned with “Paranoid privacy built-in”. Bear in mind that doing this will almost certainly void your smart speaker’s warranty – and what’s the difference between putting your trust in Apple, Google, or Amazon or in Paranoid?
Of all of these options, the Home Button is probably the safest device to try if you’re interested in enhancing the privacy of your smart speaker. Otherwise? Maybe it’s all a little bit Paranoid.
This article originally ran on techradar.com.