In April, PrivSec reported on how Amazon’s Alexa sends its recordings to human analysts for “review”, but now VRT NWS reveals that Google employs similar surveillance tactics.
The news website says the search engine giant employs workers to listen to and transcribe Google Assistant users’ voice commands.
Speaking to Business Insider, a Google spokesperson said that its staff eavesdrop on “a small set of queries”, which represents around 0.2% of audio footage. The work is carried out to “improve services” and develop technology critical to the development of the Google Assistant mechanism.
The practice is also used to improve the intelligence of the smart assistant, helping it to understand more people speaking in more languages, dialects and accents, the spokesperson said.
VRT NWS also said that one employee had to listen to dialogue spoken by a woman who was in trouble, but no guidelines are provided by Google as to what to do in such situations, the employee revealed.
Google has said it is now “conducting a full review from safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again,” as the company seeks to take action against the employee that leaked the audio footage to VRT NWS.
Earlier this year, Amazon’s Alexa service drew similar criticism for listening in to users’ voice commands. Adding fuel to the fire, reports revealed that Amazon workers would share amusing voice recordings among themselves on private chat platforms.
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