Google Allows Its Employees To Listen To Voice Assistant Interaction With Users

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Google Allows Its Employees To Listen To Voice Assistant Interaction With Users

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Google has been accused of privacy related data breaches on many different occasions. According to a new report, the search giant has reportedly let some of its workers listen in on the intimate conversations between the user and its voice Assistant. The company in a statement has sought to defend the incident by claiming it to be for the users benefit. It is claimed to be a crucial aspect of delivering a better user experience overall.


Google Home, Home Mini

Google, in a blog post, stated that it takes various steps to ensure the complete anonymity of the user during the process; and that it has protections in place to prevent false recognition of the wake word. A report from a Belgian public broadcaster had first revealed the fact that contractors are paid to transcribe audio clips by Google’s AI Assistant; the conversation recorded may hold sensitive and private information regarding the user’s name, address and other personal details. A month ago even Amazon’s Alexa was accused of withholding audio clips of juveniles via its Echo devices without there consent.

Usually, audio clips are only recorded by the previously menitoned AI assistants once the wake word is spoken. However, multiple reports have shown such devices being woken up by accident and then go on recording its surroundings. Google says it has employees review the recordings to help in improving the system on multiple different languages to prevent such accidents. The company says it is a critical part of the process to make its Google Assistant viable. 


Furthermore, Google also stated that it has caught two of its reviewers who had violated its data security policies. It is reported that they had leaked confidential Dutch audio data. The company has promised its review on this mistake and is investigating thoroughly on the matter. Additionally, Google claims that only 0.2% of all audio clips are reviewed by its language experts; the snippets are also not associated with the users accounts and the reviewers are instructed to ignore transcribing background conversations. They are only allowed to transcribe snippets aimed exclusively at Google and its services. 


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It is a known fact by people that work at the AI fields that human elements are necessary for training and growth. However, issues arise when large corporations like Google and Amazon are not transparent about their operations that involves its users. The end result was for the betterment of the customers but it seems lost when shrouded by secrecy that is later uncovered. Users should note that their conversation might just be heard by someone somewhere in the world, and avoid being near AI assistants during private interactions.

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Vikhyaat Vivek
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