Google Home Silently Captures Recordings of Domestic Violence and More
Google is under fire after a report found that Google Home and Google Assistant records user audio, even when no wake-up word is used.
Google Home smart speakers and the Google Assistant virtual assistant have been caught eavesdropping without permission — capturing and recording highly personal audio of domestic violence, confidential business calls — and even some users asking their smart speakers to play porn on their connected mobile devices.
In a Wednesday report, Dutch news outlet VRT NWS said it obtained more than one thousand recordings from a Dutch subcontractor who was hired as a “language reviewer” to transcribe recorded audio collected by Google Home and Google Assistant, and help Google better understand the accents used in the language. Out of those one thousand recordings, 153 of the conversations should never have been recorded, as the wake-up command “OK Google” was clearly not given, the report said.
“VRT NWS was able to listen to more than a thousand excerpts recorded via Google Assistant,” according to the report. “In these recordings we could clearly hear addresses and other sensitive information. This made it easy for us to find the people involved and confront them with the audio recordings.”