Google’s employees are listening in on your Google Assistant recordings

The data privacy saga continues. A Belgian broadcaster reports that your intimate moments don’t remain private if Google Assistant is hanging around.

Google digital assistants record conversations and sounds from inside the home of users and send recordings to Google’s human workers for review. This is according to Belgium’s VRT NWS. One of the several devices equipped with Google Assistant is Google Home. The digital assistant service can also be found in Android phones.

Google Assistant records even without the use of an activation phrase like “Hey, Google”. To make things worse, over 1,000 of these recordings were leaked.

“VRT NWS listened to more than a thousand excerpts, 153 of which were conversations that should never have been recorded and during which the command ‘Okay Google’ was clearly not given,” the broadcaster explained.

So what do Google’s workers hear from these recordings? According to VRT NWS which managed to get access to the leaked recordings these range from “bedroom conversations, conversations between parents and their children, but also blazing rows and professional phone calls containing lots of private information.”

Which means everything you say within the confines of your home isn’t staying in your home with Google Assistant.

Google’s product manager David Monsees confirmed the leak in a blog post addressing the issue.

“Our Security and Privacy Response teams have been activated on this issue, are investigating, and we will take action,” Monsees wrote. “We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again.”

Christian Woods
Christian Woods
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.
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