Belgium discovered Google employees eavesdropping on Google Home – VnReview smart speaker

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Google Home


Belgian media found evidence that Google had allowed employees to listen to commands and requests from users through virtual assistants.

VRT NWS television channel (Belgium) said a Google partner said the company was paid by Google to copy the audio content that virtual assistant Google Assistant obtained from users, including those Sensitive information such as name, address and even details about their personal life …

It is worth mentioning that this information is sometimes recorded randomly by the virtual assistant Google Assistant, instead of only recorded when the user uses this virtual assistant. Typically, voice-based virtual assistants such as Alexa (Amazon's) or Google Assistant are only activated when there are voice commands from users (such as "Ok Google"), but the source of the NWS VRT indicates support. Virtual Assistant Google Assistant on Google Home smart speaker sometimes automatically records the conversation content of users randomly without them knowing it, thus revealing personal and sensitive information .

According to a survey by VRT NWS, this TV channel has reviewed 1,000 recordings of Google Assistant, mainly in Dutch and Belgian, 153 of them recorded by accident. The source of the NWS VRT said on average they copied 1,000 recordings from Google Assistant, including even quarrels or discussions between father and son …

Google has acknowledged a small number of anonymous recordings that have been copied by their experts, instead of being processed only by machines.

"We partner with language experts all over the world to improve voice technology by recording a small number of user queries. This is very important for technology development in products. like Google Assistant, "Google explained. "We just learned that one of our reviewers violated the company's data security policy when leaking secret audio data."

Google said only 0.2% of the user's queries are re-heard by language experts and these data are completely anonymous. The company is currently investigating the case and making sure that no audio data recorded from the user will leak in the future.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Amazon also silently eavesdropped and recorded some of the users' conversations through the integrated Alexa virtual assistant on Amazon Echo smart speakers. Amazon later confirmed this and said it recorded a small number of user queries to help improve artificial intelligence. Amazon says users can review content that the company has recorded and can remove the content if desired.

Minh Huong according to The Verge


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