Editor’s note: We’re facing an unprecedented moment in American history. Our government and multinational tech monopolies are making it clear that we, the people, are the target of the monstrous surveillance state they’ve constructed. The deep state is attempting to jail people who share memes, Blaze Media journalists, and even the leading presidential candidate. It’s time we take back control over our privacy and digital communications, and this guide will provide you with the tools to do that. This is an excerpt from a larger guide.
Turn off Siri and Alexa
Voice recognition services are convenient and can make driving safer. It is excellent to tell your phone to place a call instead of spending time searching for a contact. Not to mention, I accidentally type the wrong letter all the time, which makes it take even longer! But the convenience is not worth the price. When you use Siri, Alexa, or any other voice recognition software, you allow large tech companies to listen to your private conversations.
When you say, “Hey Siri” or “Alexa,” this voice command engages the software. It does not turn on the voice recognition. That is on already. The software is always listening, so that it can respond when you say Siri or Alexa.
Do you want a “private” conversation with your spouse in a room with an Alexa device, a Google Nest, or an iPhone with voice recognition turned on? Do you want corporations to collect data on your emotional life and deepest fears and hopes so that they can use that to more perfectly target you to buy stuff or manipulate you in other ways?
Beware of home devices connected to the internet
It’s not only voice recognition software that listens. Web browsers can do the same thing. Even if you don’t use voice recognition software, you may have noticed that after a conversation, you’ll get advertisements for the thing you were discussing, even though you have never looked it up. There are digital listening devices everywhere — smart TVs, smart refrigerators, and all sorts of devices that are part of the internet of things. Beware of machines that have microphones that can be used for data collection. It’s also not always obvious. For example, Google did not disclose that its Nest security system had a microphone built into it.
As an additional recommendation, a product to consider is Sceptre TV. It’s the “dumb TV” on the market. Every other smart TV on the market will record and broadcast your viewing activity; some even have microphones.
I don’t want to make you paranoid, but I want you to know we are in a new world of digital intrusion. An IT professional colleague explains it like this: In nature, we are always within about three feet of a spider; in our digital habitat, we are surrounded by listening devices that can be used to collect information. It’s hard for us to get our minds around the idea that our communication, texts, phone calls, emails, and internet searches can all be tracked, but it is the world we live in, and we have to protect ourselves. I hope we can have digital technology without intrusion, but that will require building decentralized technology and exiting the world’s surveillance-suffused Google vision.