OK Google, are you listening? Tech giant's smart speakers eavesdrop on private conversations, investigation finds

Fox News | 7/12/2019 | Christopher Carbone
marika (Posted by) Level 3
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Google's smart speakers allow contractors for the tech giant to listen to excerpts of private conversations, including some with potentially sensitive information, according to a new investigation from a Belgian public broadcaster.

This news is the lastest in a series of reports about recordings from Big Tech's in-home devices being accessible to workers. According to VRT NWS, which reviewed more than 1,000 recorded excerpts – 153 of which should not have been recorded because the "OK, Google" command was not given – one contractor said he transcribes around 1,000 audio clips from Google Assistant every week.

Recording - Someone - Room - Utters - Word

However, sometimes the recording can be triggered when someone in the room or nearby utters a word or words that sound like "OK, Google." The Sundar Pichai-led tech giant calls those instances a "false accept."

One of the sources who spoke to VRT NWS described a recording in which he "heard a woman who was in definite distress." Other conversations recorded included those in bedrooms and conversations between parents and children.

Google - Fire - Report - Employees - Conversations

Google has come under fire after a report showed that employees can listen to private conversations via its Assistant.

Google, as well as other tech companies that have products using speech recognition, invest heavily to make sure products like Assistant work for a wide range of languages and dialects. As part of that work, they partner with language experts across the world to review and transcribe a small...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Fox News
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