Summer in Silicon valley, a scandal erupted involving the wiretapping of users using voice assistants and “smart” devices. Then IT corporations have stated that they acted solely in the interests of the users trying to improve their experience with the devices, but from the practice decided to give up. Now Google has announced that returns to the wiretapping of the conversations of users, but only with their permission.
You can always refuse
Google employees will again listen to the conversations of customers who communicate with the voice assistant or “smart” column, to improve their user experience. However, in contrast to the summer scandal, when IT giants of Silicon valley was accused of illegal wiretapping, companies are obliged now to ask permission before you start recording, according to Bloomberg.
Company Google owning Google has suspended the program evaluation of the conversations the moderators after one contractor from the Netherlands merged several records of local journalists who were able to identify people by their voice and needs.
After this story was picked up by media around the world, Google had to admit that the company actually writes and listens to users, but only doing it for their benefit — with the aim to improve the technology of voice assistant.
Google supposedly treats only 0.2% of all voice commands that give users, but this work is “critical” for the development of voice assistant Google Assistant. The collected data should help the voice assistant is better to understand people speaking different languages and with different accents, the company said.
As for data leaks, Google promised to take action against the employee who leaked the information.
“We are investigating and a full review of our security policies to prevent such abuse in the future”, — said the representative of the Corporation.
While the scandal was in the active phase, this practice was suspended for a while, but now started again.
However, now the IT giant is obliged to warn users that their conversations can be overheard, if they decide to include this feature.
If the function is disabled, the Google Assistant will not be entitled to record the voice of its owner and those around him.
In addition, the company announced that is working on improving the technology to recognize sounds that were recorded by accident. Usually, the smart assistant includes the record only when he hears the phrase “OK, Google” [eng. “Hey, Google”], but sometimes erroneously respond to other triggers, starting the wire at the moment when the user didn’t know.
“We believe that you can fully control your data, and we continue to work to ensure their safety. We strive to maintain transparency in regards to how our features so you can decide what is best for you,” reads the company’s official blog.
In addition, Google will allow users to view their past interactions with the assistants, as well as delete them at any time.
However, these functions become available to a wide circle of people, it took several scandals and public outcry.
Listen to all
In April of this year became aware of such breach from the company Amazon, which has its own voice assistant Alexa. Then it became known that employees of Amazon not only records conversations but listening to them, and later even spread to the Internet, to over them laughed. In addition, some users of the Alexa complained that the assistant first recorded their speech, and then by mistake sent it to all friends of the user.
In August, the brand Apple sued over Siri voice assistant. The lawsuit was filed one of the residents of California, who argues that the cupertinos have violated state law that prohibits recording conversations without the consent of the participants.
Nevertheless the lawsuit says that Siri becomes active, “literally anything”, including the sound of the lightning or a wave of the hand.
Shortly after this story hit the press, Apple announced the suspension of the program quality control Siri, as well as allowing users to choose, to provide their records for analysis or not.
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