A Dutch contractor leaked audio recordings of user conversations with Google’s AI voice assistant, Google confirmed in a blog post, raising new questions about privacy risks associated with voice tech.
The confirmation followed a report in Belgian news outlet VRT that said it obtained over 1,000 recordings of customers talking to Google Assistant, which powers the company’s smart speakers and is also available on Android phones. Some of the recordings were of conversations that were seemingly picked up unprompted and not directed at the assistant, according to the report.
The report prompted Google to confirm for the first time that it employs people who manually review a small percentage of Google Assistant recordings. “We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again,” the company said.
Bloomberg recently revealed that Amazon also employs contractors to review Alexa voice recordings, and that in some instances the recordings were shared by reviewers in ways that violated the company’s policies.