CounterBug is a concept device that offers a self-defense system against possible spying in your own house. Do you know there are over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices had been sold? It means that there are more than 100 million users depending on Alexa to setup their music, thermostats, or schedule appointments. There are many believe these devices with digital assistant as a helping hands, but there are others who believe they are the Trojan horses in the age of digital surveillance.
CounterBug by Erlend Prendergast targets those who view Alexa as both digital assistant and a digital spy. It is designed for people with a paranoia about where their data might end up and for what purpose it might be used. CounterBug is a set of accessories that would confuse Alexa’s algorithms, each piece has different purposes. It responds to different form of surveillance paranoia, one to censor user’s language to avoid problem with the NSA, one to disrupt Amazon’s tailored advertising algorithms, and another one to chat with Alexa with weird and random topics while you are not in the house.
MurMur tries its hardest to confuse Amazon’s algorithms for tailored advertising. On the mention of a phrase which might indicate a personal preference, taste or hobby, MurMur will whisper something completely opposing.
Examples: Person mentions a book about the Pankhurst sisters, MurMur whispers “Kim Kardashian book launch”, Person asks Alexa “does McDonald’s deliver? MurMur whispers “Gastro pubs near me”.
Blabber’s primary goal is to build a perfect digital persona for the user. Switched on when the user leaves the house, Blabber acts autonomously – conversing with Alexa about socially desirable things.
Examples: “Alexa, what are the ethical implications of buying clothes from Coz?”, “Alexa, list the best Dostoyevsky books”, “Alexa, what are the best animal charities to support?”
Scramble site alert, waiting for the mention of certain trigger words that are monitored by the NSA. On the mention of a trigger-word, Scramble does its best to shout over it. Trigger words include: dictionary, sweeping, ionosphere, white noise, pink noise, pirates, car bomb.