Google is listening to your private lives

Tom Simonite for Wired:

“Tim Verheyden, a journalist with Belgian public broadcaster VRT, contacted the couple bearing a mysterious audio file. To their surprise, they clearly heard the voices of their son and baby grandchild—as captured by Google’s virtual assistant on a smartphone.

“Verheyden says he gained access to the file and more than 1,000 others from a Google contractor who is part of a worldwide workforce paid to review some audio captured by the assistant from devices including smart speakers, phones, and security cameras. One recording contained the couple’s address and other information suggesting they are grandparents.”

And

“Some of those captured fragments of phone calls and private conversations. They include announcements that someone needed the bathroom and what appeared to be discussions on personal topics, including a child’s growth rate, how a wound was healing, and someone’s love life.”

And

“Google’s privacy policy and privacy pages for its home devices do not describe how the company uses workers to review audio.”

Jonny Evans for Apple Must:

“This is surveillance,” warned Cook. “These stock piles of personal data only enrich the companies that collect them. This should make us uncomfortable and unsettle us. Billions of dollars trade hands every day on scraps of data that are carefully assembled, synthesised, traded and sold,” he warned.

MacDailyNews Take: With Zoom’s secret web server and Google’s unregulated listening ear, Cook’s warning about surveillance are becoming increasingly relevant.

11 Comments

  1. This should only help to justify those of us using a slightly dumber Siri on HomePods.

    There are millions of people that have Google Assistant or Alexa, in their bedrooms, where they do the most private things possible!

    Separate but important, I’m very excited about the video processing that HomePods will be able to do soon for home cameras.

    1. Why would HomePods be doing any video processing? More likely is by having multiple HomePods/smart speakers there could be a system to pinpoint and identify sound sources and act like a security system.

    1. Your stupidity is sooooo deep that it requires a new name. Calling you a libturd is too insulting to libturds. With that in mind, do you prefer “SnowTurd” or “Turdflake”?

  2. I can’t imagine a job just listening to audio files all day. At best there is a system to filter out all the ‘chaff’ audio before anyone listens to anything or a system that parses out words to teach voice recognition engines variations of pronunciation.

  3. I would make it illegal for a company, any company, to make money off it’s customer’s without knowledge or consent. Yet they all do. Including Apple.

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