People are listening to your Google Assistant queries — Surprise

Google Assistant Recordings Being Secretly Listened to by Contractors Report

Google Assistant Recordings Being Secretly Listened to by Contractors Report

The contractors and subcontractors further use these recordings to improve speech recognition technology.

It shouldn't be news to anyone that Google stores your recordings; this is in Google's terms and conditions, and it's how the voice assistant improves. Similar to Alexa, a recent report sheds light on how Google trains its virtual assistant by paying contractors to transcribe audio clips, including those where the personal assistant wasn't even invoked. He added that there are no clear guidelines provided regarding such cases.

Google Assistant is accurate and there's a reason why. VRT NWS says that they have three sources who confirm this is how Google works. "But the sound is not distorted in any way". These include both purposeful and unconscious recordings that can contain sensitive information.

"These language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages", David Monsees, product manager for Google Search, said in a blog post Thursday.

While Google did argue that it needed these clips to improve its audio recording, one can't imagine Google Home users were thrilled that some of their most intimate moments may have been streamed to faceless contractors without their express permission. Although the rules do say that account numbers and passwords have to be marked as sensitive information. The recordings also reveal men to be looking for porn a lot, even via smart speakers, although that in itself is not entirely a revelation. Now, a new report published by Belgian broadcaster VRT NWS claims Google employees listen to conversations recorded by Google Home devices as well as the Google Assistant app.

Despite the fact that recordings are anonymized, in the recordings it heard, VRT NWS was able to make out names, addresses, and other identifying information that made it very easy to track down the speakers.

Language experts judge only about 0.2 percent of all audio clips that are not linked to personally identifiable information.

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