Hey Alexa, quit eavesdropping — tech to protect you from tech is on the rise

Do you want your smart speaker to stop snooping? Try on the “bracelet of silence.” The funky-looking gadget was designed by computer-science professors to jam the Amazon Echo and keep any nearby microphones from listening in on your conversations. The researchers say they could manufacture the device for just 20 bucks. That’d give us a […]


February 17, 2020

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Do you want your smart speaker to stop snooping? Try on the “bracelet of silence.”

The funky-looking gadget was designed by computer-science professors to jam the Amazon Echo and keep any nearby microphones from listening in on your conversations.

The researchers say they could manufacture the device for just 20 bucks. That’d give us a thrifty (but oh-so-chic) way to tell Bezos to butt out.

The bracelet is more than a cyberpunk fashion statement

It’s part of a growing economy of gizmos and apps that are meant to protect us from the rise of the machines. 

With smart speaker sales booming and facial recognition tech taking off, privacy armor might be the next big trend on the runway.

  • A project called CV Dazzle uses avant-garde hair and makeup styling techniques to fool facial recognition algorithms.
  • An eyewear company is selling frames and lenses called Reflectacles. They reflect infrared light to obscure the wearer’s face on security cameras.
  • An artist once created a line of metallic hoodies that mask body heat to thwart the thermal cameras of overhead drones.

This new wave of anti-tech highlights a weird phenomenon: Companies have been slow to patch the problematic parts of our smart infrastructure. So entrepreneurial types are selling products to mitigate the downsides of connected tech.

It’s a whole new market for privacy apps

Services like Disconnect.Me and Jumbo work like digital cloaks — to shield your devices, not your face. 

They’re designed to help you manage privacy settings and put more layers between your personal info and the snoopers who might be after it.

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