Google acknowledged an earlier report from Belgian broadcaster VRT News about third-party subcontractors being able to access recordings of Google Home device owners. According to the report, the audio clips reviewed included enough information to reportedly determine the home addresses of several of the involved individuals.
Clips used by speech and language experts. Google says it sends clips to third-party language experts to ensure that Google is understanding local speech and accents. The company explained this process in a blog post today, saying “We just learned that one of these language reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data. Our Security and Privacy Response teams have been activated on this issue, are investigating, and we will take action. We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again.”
Google goes on to discuss how it safeguards user privacy and how only a small percentage of audio clips go to third parties for review. With this incident, however, Google adds to the perception that smart speaker devices are “listening” to their owners. This has been a problem for Alexa, which has received lots of negative coverage for its alleged eavesdropping on owners.
Privacy concerns a growing problem. A recent survey from NPR suggests that some consumers are now hesitating to buy smart speakers for privacy reasons.
Compared with a similar 2017 survey, more consumers are now more concerned about privacy and security. The
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