Google Is Accused of Recording Conversations With Assistant Without Permission

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Google: Last Tuesday (29), according to India Today, Google representatives would have revealed to the Asian country’s government, in response to a question asked by Nishikant Dubey, a member of Lok Sabha (local house of parliament), that Google Assistant logs user conversations even when not activated by specific commands. Employees of the search giant would even listen to materials sent by the technology.

According to the company, says the newspaper, these teams are assigned to improve voice recognition for different languages, as they do not have contact with sensitive content. Still, the company has not specified how the selection takes place, nor does it provide for the use of recordings in its privacy policy.

serious breach of privacy

It is known that equipment equipped with the resource is always “attentive” to activation phrases, such as “Ok, Google”, and that, based on that, they store the interactions to forward them to the big tech database. In accidental cases, where they misrecognize other sounds, steer in their documents, they can say “Hey Google, it wasn’t for you”, which will lead to deletion of those files.

One of the authorities involved in the process, Shashi Tharoor, considers the facts described as a serious violation of the user’s privacy. According to the congressman, Google Assistant’s terms of acceptance of use do not clarify what happens to the captured information, but authorize the company to share data with third parties.

“The government is investigating the fact that companies like Google do not delete stored data as a rule and keep transcripts until a user deletes them manually,” an official from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology reportedly said.

What does Google say?

Google told the Android Authority that it cannot comment on stories from unidentified people, especially on sensitive matters such as treaties with the Indian government. Anyway, the company set out to explain how Google Assistant works.

“In standby mode, the device processes small pieces of audio (a few seconds) to detect an activation. If not detected, they will not be sent to the company or saved [in its databases]”, detailed the company.

In the case of detections, whatever they are, he concludes, “the recording may take, before the [effective] activation of the resource, a few seconds to capture requests at the appropriate time.”

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