How to Stop Smart Home Devices from Snooping on You.
The rise of smart home devices has been nothing but fantastic this year. Home and condo sales, apartment and trailer home rentals — all of them are now offering a basic smart home package as part of the move-in price. The media have had a field day warning consumers that they can’t escape the ever-present, ever-listening, devices such as Hey Siri and Alexa. They never sleep and their attention never wanders. It all sounds like a bad sci-fi movie that would have run at all the drive-ins back in the 1950s. And, thank goodness, it’s not exactly true. True enough so that consumers should be worried about the possibility of unauthorized surveillance in their own homes, but not so worried as to go paranoid, start wearing aluminum foil helmets, and learning to speak in Esperanto.
Here’s the deal.
All smart home devices that are voice activated have got an off switch for their microphones. Basically this means that consumers have the power to switch off any device that uses audio.
For instance, all Amazon Echo devices have a microphone switch that can be pushed once to turn it off. When it’s off a red light will come on. To reactivate the microphone so you can boss the thing around again, just push the button again. The red light goes off, to indicate your techno-slave is at your beck and call again.