Google just recently came under fire for what could be a privacy violation involving Google Assistant on Google Home smart speakers. According to the anonymous source, just like Amazon, Google is sending some recordings to human auditors who process and tag the clips to improve Google Assistant. Google doesn’t deny the role that these reviewers play in improving the service but also clarifies its stance on the privacy of its processes.
Google admits that it does send some audio clips to human reviewers but it clarifies the steps it takes to ensure the privacy of users. It basically says that those reviewers are a critical part of improving not just Google Assistant’s performance but Google’s other speech technologies as well.
However, Google is extremely careful in what gets transferred to those subcontractors. For one, it says that only 0.2 percent of all audio snippets are sent to those companies. Those snippets don’t include any user identifiable data and reviewers are instructed to ignore background noises or conversations or anything not directly pertaining to Google.
As for the allegation that Google Home records audio even without the “Hey, Google” trigger. Google it does admit that there might be accidental triggers when the speaker mishears the wake-up phrase. Either way, the speaker will have a clear indication that it’s recording.
The leak, however, goes against Google’s privacy policies and the company promises to investigate and take action. Some might interpret that as Google trying to silence whistleblowers but that should be expected considering those sources may have leaked out private information.