Amazon Echo is a great device able to make your everyday life a bit easier. Packing alongside Amazon Echo is Alexa, an AI voice-assistant that can recognize your voice commands and ease up your Amazon buys, play music for you, or find the perfect movie to watch.
But, as handy as they are, assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home are always on, always listening, always ready to answer your question. All that data is recorded and uploaded on cloud servers in order to make the AI assistants even better.
This is the part when we come to privacy concerns. You can’t stop Amazon from using your private data. If you bought the Echo and using it, you can’t just decide to disallow the Echo from collecting the data, since the device is practically useless without it. And since Alexa is coming to more devices, Amazon could share private data with third parties in order to make Alexa even better.
If you worry about Amazon Echo listening on you, there’s a way of turning off Alexa, but for it to happen you’ll have to know a bit about electronics and coding.
Shawn Hymel, a SparkFun Electronics engineer, constructed a kill switch capable of shutting down Alexa using just a voice command. But for that to work, you have to find all of the parts needed for building the kill switch, assembly it, and then write some code. The detailed guide for constructing Echo Kill Switch can be found here.
The components cost around $100 and include Particle Photon mini-board, some wires, and a breadboard that has a USB port. The connection between the Particle Photon board and the Amazon Echo is done via IFTTT applet. So, if you have the skills and the time, in only two hours you can construct a handy Amazon Echo kill switch, protecting your private data.
Aside from shutting off Alexa, you can also mute the Amazon Echo and delete recordings from your Amazon account – individual recordings or whole history. But, as we said before, deleting your recordings will make Alexa less personalized and inefficient.