Who’s listening to Google Assistant? You might be surprised
By Rachel Lerman | Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Google contractors regularly listen to and review some recordings of what people say to artificial-intelligence system Google Assistant, via their phone or through smart speakers such as the Google Home.
The company acknowledged that humans can access those recordings after some of its Dutch language audio snippets were leaked. Google product manager David Monsees acknowledged the leak in a blog post Thursday, and said the company is investigating the breach.
“We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again,” he wrote.
More than 1,000 recordings were obtained by Belgian broadcaster VRT NWS, which noted in a story that some contained sensitive personal conversations — as well as information that identified the person speaking. Google says no user account information is associated with the recordings, and reviewers are instructed not to transcribe background conversations.
But VRT reporters could hear spoken home addresses in some of the recordings, and were able to track down the speakers. Some of these conversations were not directed at Assistant and happened either as background noise or as a mistaken recording when Assistant thought it was being spoken to, but wasn’t.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Google says contractors listen to recordings to better understand language patterns and accents. Its user terms confirm recordings may be used by the company, stating Assistant “records your voice and audio on Google services to improve speech recognition.”
Monsees wrote that Google works with contractors around the world to analyze the recordings.
“These language experts review and transcribe a small set of queries to help us better understand those languages,” he wrote.
Google’s terms don’t explicitly say that people review the recordings, but do state that data could be analyzed as the company updates services …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Business