Sometimes the walls do really have ears, especially if those ears come with cute little hot words and audio recording capabilities. Google’s Home speakers have been caught sending audio clips of their users back to Google to improve its speech recognition software. The clips, which were leaked by a whistleblower in collaboration with the Belgian broadcaster VRT, included information which was recorded even when the user had not said the magic words, “Ok, Google.”
While Google did argue that it needed these clips to improve its audio recording, one can’t imagine Google Home users were thrilled that some of their most intimate moments may have been streamed to faceless contractors without their express permission. While Google said it had anonymised the data, the network was able to discern enough information to learn the name and addresses and even confront some of the people caught up in the recordings.
Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. Users make use of Apple, Google and Amazon’s voice-activated services because they trust their privacy is being safeguarded. When companies mess up like this, it becomes harder for them to defend themselves by saying “trust us” in future.
Via: The Next Web