According to La Presse, Google employees have been listening in on users’ conversations, and some audio recordings have just been leaked.
The tech giant admitted Thursday that hired language experts have been using pieces—or “snippets”—of recordings to help improve audio recognition. Some Google users are seeing this as an invasion of privacy.
Artificial intelligence systems are made to respond to voice commands—like “Hey Google!” Assistants can be asked to play music or describe weather conditions, and are helped greatly by the pieces of speech that language experts analyze.
Of course, a plethora of accents and languages have to be thoroughly distinguished, for Google to optimize its services.
“This work is critical to developing technology that powers products like the Google Assistant,” Google commented, claiming “language experts only review around 0.2% of all audio snippets”
Of course, the routine nature of employees listening to conversations can have ethical implications. One source informed VRT NEWS, that a woman was once heard, evidently in distress.
Indeed, through this practice, pieces of Dutch audio have been leaked.
The recordings contain personal and intimate information. Discussion of people’s love lives, and of addresses, were captured.
“We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again,” a spokesperson said.
Amazon has been found to perform a similar practice with audio recordings. In the past, customers reported that audio recordings were unwillingly sent to friends. Yet, the information contained by its digital assistant, Alexa, can be accessed and deleted through the Alex companion app.