Recently, VRT NWS discovered that Google employees have access to listening to audio files recorded via Google Assistant and Google Home speakers — including conversations that have sensitive content and shouldn’t have been recorded. Google responded quickly to that, defending its actions.
According to Google, they have language experts that are hired to “review and transcribe a small set of queries” to help them improve their understanding of these languages and enhanced their speech technology. However, the leak of a confidential Dutch audio data was a breach of their data security policies and Google is already conducting investigations and will take actions.
“Language experts only review around 0.2 percent of all audio snippets. Audio snippets are not associated with user accounts as part of the review process, and reviewers are directed not to transcribe background conversations or other noises, and only to transcribe snippets that are directed to Google,” wrote David Monsees, the Product Manager in the blog post.
But let’s put that aside for now; it doesn’t change the fact that Google still listens to our conversations, sometimes even when it’s not supposed to. Google has admitted that even though it might be rare, there still are occasions that there’s something called “false accept” — where Google Assistant interpreted background words/noise as the hotword like “Ok Google”, causing the Assistant to listen to our conversations.
Google, however, did mention that users can manage and control their data by turning off the option to store audio data in their Google accounts or choose to auto-delete data every 3 or 18 months. So if you’re really worried that Google Assistant has been spying on your private conversations, it’s best you just turn off storing audio data in your account.