Google Blog Post Sparks Privacy Concerns As Company Admits Its Workers Listen To Audio Records By Smart Speakers

Swarajya Staff

Jul 12, 2019, 02:02 PM | Updated 02:02 PM IST

Google Home Assistant. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Google Home Assistant. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Google has publicly acknowledged in a blog post that workers under the company’s contracts are listening to snippets of audio recorded by the company’s virtual assistant on the smart speaker sparking major privacy concerns for its customers, reports Wall Street Journal.

Google has admitted that it employs speech experts around the globe to listen to conversations recorded by the Google Assistant, available on its Google Home speakers and Android devices. The blog by Google says its language experts listen to 0.2 per cent of “audio snippets” taken from the Google Assistant to better understand different languages, accents and dialects.

Industry experts, however, admit that it is important at some point for humans to listen to the records to sort out the errors that in the system which is under constant development.

The snippets may lead to privacy risks for the customers as they may contain potentially identifying information about the users such as names and addresses and recordings of the customers even when they aren’t using the Google Assistant.

The issue of privacy risks with audio recording by smart speakers and virtual assistants has been flagged earlier too. In May, a coalition of privacy and child-advocacy groups filed a complaint with regulators against Amazon potentially preserving conversations of young users through its Echo Dot Kids devices.

Last year, Amazon acknowledged that one of its Echo home speakers mistakenly recorded a private conversation and sent it to a person in the owners’ contact list.

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