Engineer’s ‘smart speaker firewall’ guards against Alexa eavesdropping


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He added a hand-drawn picture of Jeff Bezos inside the box’s lid and says at the end of the video: “If you can see Jeff Bezos’ picture, Jeff can listen to you.”

The firewall, he writes on GitHub, is meant to address “some well documented ‘oops’ moments, such as ordering unwanted goods, recording conversations that should have remained private, or just annoying folks.”

“Most any 8th grader with $US50 could make this in a couple days,” he said after news broke of a lawsuit alleging Amazon’s Alexa system was recording children’s conversations without consent.

For Carey, who lists 17 patents on his LinkedIn profile and said he was the lead inventor on 11 of them, the project was part of his job search effort. He was laid off in February after more than 12 years at AT&T. He’s said he’s had a half-dozen phone interviews, including with Lab 126, the Amazon devices subsidiary – “Nice people. (Seriously)” – but hasn’t landed a role yet.

Carey keeps inventing. After a mouse chewed through the water supply to his dishwasher recently, resulting in thousands of dollars of water damage, he started designing an aftermarket sleeve that could be fitted over water lines or power cords to detect and report punctures, pinches or other adverse conditions before a catastrophic failure.

“I am an engineer. I love technology,” Carey said, “but I have very little faith in the people who control technology. “

McClatchy



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