The privacy of the People with Google Home devices is not safe anymore

Although technology is upgrading day by day, one of the major drawbacks of all gadgets and new devices is the lack in privacy of the users. No matter how much all the companies try to secure the privacy of its users but somehow there’s always a loophole left.

Privacy concerns with Google Home Devices

Different companies focus on providing new technology just to ease its users. The new Google Home devices were launched to bring comfort in the life of the people but along with that it also brought privacy concerns. A report from Belgian broadcaster VRT News states the process by which Google Home recordings end up being listened by Google contractors and the scariest part is that it doesn’t take much to start a recording, even if you didn’t ask your device any questions it’s still sending what you say to the company and an actual person collects the data from the devices.

Whistleblower of Google

VRT along with the help of a whistleblower was able to listen to these recordings and it made them concerned that even though some people didn’t even use the word “Hey Google” but Google Home was still saving all the recordings. The whistleblower was actually a subcontractor to Google, using the audio files to improve its speech recognition. According to the Whistleblower, the recordings are given to them with a presumed identity and age of the person. The recordings are from all over the world which means that there are thousands of contractors listening to these recordings.

The VRT report states that Google Home Terms of Service nowhere mentioned about recordings might be listened by other humans. Although the company mentioned that they try to anonymize the recordings before sending them to contractors but VRT was able to pick enough data from recording to find addresses of the users and confront them about the recordings as well.

Google’s response to the VRT report

Google’s defense to VRT report was that the company only utilizes about “0.2 percent of all audio clips” to improve voice recognition. Other than that they don’t save any of the recordings of the users.

Although Google confirmed to media outlets and stated that its language experts use a small amount of around 0.2% of all the recordings but that is only to critically develop technology that powers products like of Google Assistant. The concept to make Google Assistant more updated and smarter in understanding the commands from a variety of people who belong to different regions and speak different languages in a variety of accents. To make their technology better and to improve the listening skills of Google Assistant, they needed to listen to a part of audios to improve the skills of their technology.

Google is also taking strict action against the employee who shared their audio data files. A spokesperson from Google stated that it’s reviewing their safeguards to prevent any similar misconduct in the future. The employee who shared their recordings broke their privacy law so now Google is taking action against it and trying to improve their policies to not let it happen again.

Google still denies the fact that they’re invading the privacy of its users by stating that they’re only using those recordings to help them understand users better and ease the life of its users by providing more improved and updated products.

Bottom Line

Even if Google anonymizes the recordings but still they should be not saved at all. VRT heard a lot of men arguing with spouses and even in one case a woman seemed to be in an emergency but the whistleblower told the Belgian media company that they didn’t have any guidelines about how to respond in these situations. This kind of privacy disasters are not only ethically wrong but it also displays our privacy being violated by companies for the sake of improvement in their technologies.

The privacy of the People with Google home devices is not safe anymore

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