You can now protect your sexual privacy with a range of condoms dedicated to your Alexa

By Malavika Pradeep

Published Apr 24, 2021 at 09:45 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

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In 2019, an investigation led by The Sun revealed that the sounds of lovemaking could trigger Alexa-activated Echo speakers—in turn recording their steamy seshes for the staff at Amazon to collect and analyse as a metric of “improving customer experience.” To safeguard and banish these worries from bedrooms, folks over at CamSoda have come up with a range of ‘privacy condoms’ for your Alexa.

What is the Virtual Assistant Blocker?

“The rise of AI-powered virtual assistants poses a threat to our privacy,” said Daryn Parker, Vice President of CamSoda in a blog post. “There has been a growing concern that there are people on the other end of our Alexas, recording our conversations and listening in to them.” Given the mutual interests of its userbase in both sex and technology, along with a history of gimmicky sex tech inventions, the adult entertainment company has come up with the inevitable.

“Here at CamSoda, we value the privacy of our users and want to better protect them from prying eyes and ears—especially while they are having sex,” Parker continued. “With the rollout of our new condom line for Alexa-activated Echo speakers, people can ‘wrap it up’ in more ways than one and rest assured that no one is listening in on their lovemaking.”

You can now protect your sexual privacy with a range of condoms dedicated to your Alexa

Dubbed the ‘Virtual Assistant Blocker’ (VAB), CamSoda’s invention works by covering all seven microphone array rings on the surface of the Alexa. Temporarily muting communications between users and their virtual assistant, the product guarantees privacy and discretion.

Retailing for $9.99, the invention sports Noise Reduction Rated (NRR) 35 soundproofing material. “The NRR 34 is basically stuffing the highest-rated earplugs inside the highest-rated earmuffs,” explained Forbes. Rimmed with silicon for a snug fit, you can even get your hands on a ‘CamSoda Blue’ and ‘Graphite Grey’ version if you’re lucky.

Tales from a virtual investigation

Now that we know how it works, it’s time to ask the real question: does it work? On a virtual quest to find out, I arrived at the internet’s favourite hotspot for sex tech and advices—Reddit. The responses to my inquiry were mixed. On closer inspection, however, they can be categorised into three: the ‘Faraday cage-rs’ swearing by the product, the ‘why on earth-ers’ labelling the invention a “bad April Fool’s joke” and the ‘humourous overthinkers’ relating VAB to all walks of life.

“VAB is a thoughtful invention for those cases where I want my privacy but also want to play music,” one user replied, highlighting how the product covers only the microphones but not the speakers. While some admitted seeing themselves use “yet another glove in the bedroom,” these claims were refuted by others—who believe that the product could just be replaced with the practice of switching off their virtual assistants altogether.

A minority of users on the scene, however, admitted to currently using a smart plug to power their Alexa. “A smart plug will cut power to your Alexa in a stipulated time. Although you need to use your phone or an Alexa in a different room to turn it back on, it’s better than manually unplugging it,” a reply read. While the ‘stipulated time’ stirred a separate controversy on its own in this scenario, I couldn’t help but notice a niche of users agreeing on how they find the red glow of the mute button sexy. Another pondered over the repercussions of inviting a girlfriend named ‘Alexa’ over. “Imagine if she wanted me to say her name,” a user added.

The role of mistrust and dependency

The regularity of accidental triggers on Alexa are incredibly high,” an anonymous analyst said to The Guardian. Accompanied by private data like a user’s location and contact details, the analyst highlighted how Alexa’s terms of use actually lets Amazon staff snoop into a user’s recordings. “Amazon told us that everyone we were listening to had consented to it too. So I never felt like I was spying,” the analyst added.

With Amazon’s employees reportedly listening to more than 1,000 recordings a day in order to “improve customer experience,” it makes one wonder about the dependency and mistrust bred by virtual assistants in our lives. While opinions varied, all Redditors seemed to agree to this one single fact—thereby advising others to take digital breaks or relocate such devices altogether into ‘miscellaneous’ corners of their houses.

So, if you are someone dependent on your Alexa but also value your sexual privacy at the same time—you might as well try putting a ring on it next to the poster which reads ‘No Glovin’, No Lovin’!’

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