Google will stop listening to EU voice plays while regulators investigate

Google has agreed to stop listening to and transcribing Google Assistant footage for three months in Europe, according to German regulators.

In a statement released today, Germany's data protection commissioner said the country is investigating reports that contractors are listening to audio taken by Google's AI-powered assistant to improve speech recognition. In the process, according to reports, contractors found themselves listening to conversations that were randomly recorded by products like Google Home.

"The use of automated voice assistants from vendors such as Google, Apple, and Amazon proves to be very risky to the privacy of those affected," the German Commissioner's statement states, pointing to privacy not only for device owners but for home visitors with these devices. According to the statement, Google will stop the practice of listening to and transcribing recordings for at least three months across the EU as the regulator looks into the matter.

A Google spokesperson said it had moved to pause "language reviews" while investigating recent media leaks.

"We are in contact with the Data Protection Authority in Hamburg and are considering how we conduct audio reviews and help our users understand how data is used," the spokesman said. “These reviews help to make voice recognition systems more inclusive of different accents and dialects across languages. We do not associate audio clips with user accounts during the review process, and only perform reviews for around 0.2% of all clips. ”

The controversy surrounding entrepreneurs has expanded to other companies, as recent reports have highlighted how Apple and Amazon workers are also listening to recordings to improve Siri and Alexa. In the statement, the German regulator writes that other voice assistants, including Apple and Amazon, are "invited" to "quickly review" their policies.

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