Leaked: Google Listens To Customers through Virtual Assistant


Google announced that contractors of Google are listening to customer recordings by Google virtual assistant, according to The Wall Street Journal. The announcement was prompted after Belgian public broadcaster VRT NWS reported that Google was using the recordings without customer consent.

The announcement adds to a long list of privacy concerns with technology that have happened over the past decade. Google has been recording and listening to some conversations that people have with the Google Assistant either through Google Home or Android devices.

The Belgian broadcaster reports that the recordings expose sensitive information about users and that it sometimes records when Google Assistant isn’t being used. Google claims that language experts listen to 0.2% of “audio snippets” taken from the Google Assistant to better understand different languages, accents and dialects.

“This is a critical part of the process of building speech technology, and is necessary to creating products like the Google Assistant,” Google blog post said.

Google said a rogue contractor shared the information with journalists and that it was a violation of its data-security policies. In the blog post, Google quoted its privacy policy saying, “We provide personal information to our affiliates and other trusted businesses or persons to process [your information] for us.”

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