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Google is listening too: Firm admits its Assistant records private conversations without users’ knowledge and workers listen to them

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Daily Mail
July 12, 2019

Google has joined the list of companies using customers’ voice recordings to improve its smart home products and reportedly scraping up private interactions in the process.

After a leak from one of the company’s employees, first reported by Belgian new outlet VRT NWS, Google has admitted that it gives workers access to some audio recordings from its Google Home and Android smart speakers.

The technology giant said it provides those snippets to language experts who manually review the recordings, studying customers’ speech to improve its voice-activated Google Assistant.

While the company only reviews a relatively small number of audio snippets from users — about 0.2 percent of the recordings are reviewed by Google contractors — the practice has reportedly scraped up some personal information in the process.

Some of those recordings were taken even without a user uttering the device’s wake words ‘OK Google’ or ‘Hey, Google.’

According to VRT NWS, which reviewed more than 1,000 excerpts leaked by an employee, 153 of them were taken without such a command.

The conversations ranged in subject matter, says the outlet. Excerpts included conversations between a parent and their child, arguments, and a professional phone call that reportedly contained private information.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Other more severe instances included a woman who was in ‘definite distress’ and private queries like men using their smart hub to search for porn.

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This article was posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 at 4:54 am

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