A few weeks ago, Google got into some controversial waters as it was revealed that employees were able to hear and even glean private information from its Google Assistant voice app. This was done to help improve the service on the backend, but knowing it was permitted intellectually didn’t prevent users from feeling sore about it once faced with the reality of the situation.
The firm has now temporarily paused its recordings in the European Union and are now doing a reassessment of its policies surrounding its management of audio transcriptions.
“We are in touch with the Hamburg data protection authority and are assessing how we conduct audio reviews and help our users understand how data is used,” Google said in a statement to CNBC. “Shortly after we learned about the leaking of confidential Dutch audio data, we paused language reviews of the Assistant to investigate.”
Google had previously said that only a small number of voice clips were manually transcribed, but given a large enough sample size, the absolute number of clips captured could be much higher. That aside, Google’s choice to manually re-evaluate and reassess its privacy policies without being compelled (or perhaps done to pre-empt compulsion) does show consumer-friendly recognition of privacy concerns.