Google Is Listening In To Its Home Speaker Recordings

Google Home allegedly records clips without trigger sends to contractor

Earlier this year, a report from Bloomberg revealed fellow tech giant Amazon also listens to some recordings of customer interactions with its voice-based assistant Alexa.

Although Google disconnects the audio clip from any identifiable information, VRT NWS found that it was on more than one occasion possible to put the pieces together and find the source of the clip by using context clues scattered throughout the recordings. If the audio recorded by Google was secure and protected, a Dutch news site wouldn't have gained access to a treasure trove of what many would consider to be extremely sensitive data.

One contractor told VRT News that one recording that he had to process clearly showed a woman in need of assistance, but employees are not given guidelines on how to handle such cases.

Google has admitted that it listens to voice recordings of users from its AI voice-assistant Google Assistant after its Dutch language recordings were leaked by Belgian public broadcaster VRT. If you're not comfortable with the possibility of a stranger listening to an unintentional recording of your most intimate moments, consider saying "goodbye, Google" and either permanently unplugging your Google Home or disabling Google Assistant on your smartphone. But if it happens when you're having a conversation, then Google will have also heard a short except of your conversation.

"Language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages", wrote Google product manager David Monsees. The company announced in a blog post that it is "conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again".

The statement came on the heels of a report by Belgian broadcaster VRT News suggesting that Google employees the world over listen to users' commands to Google Assistant via smart speakers and a mobile app. Recordings captured by smart speakers, or your phone, after the Assistant has been summoned are stored by Google.

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You may well have suspected it, but now Google has confirmed it - contractors for the company are able to listen to what you say to Google Assistant.

Third-party contractors working for Google are reportedly recording and secretly listening to your private conversations via Google Assistant.

It turns out that your private and intimate moments aren't that private after all - if you use Google Assistant, that is.

When setting up a Google account, the option for voice and audio activity is set to off by default. While Google removes names of users and other identifying information, it is not changing the recording itself.

"We hold ourselves to high standards of privacy and security in product development, and hold our partners to these same standards", Google said.

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