Google Assistant is a product from Google that is highly demanded recently. Users can use it to help their daily activities by only tapping a special button on their Android Smartphone. The feature is introduced mainly in the series of Android One.
The product is really sophisticated for sure. It is even said that this giant technology company has been one step ahead with it. Unfortunately, Google has some issues also. One of them is the issue of privacy violence that comes out to the surface currently.
A media from Belgium reported that Google Assistant and the smart speaker Google Home can record the voice and their staff can listen to them. The media even stated that there were more than a thousand quotes in which 153 of them are conversations that should not be recorded. The users might not activate it with the command “OK Google”. Those private conversations are including parents-children conversations, intimate conversations done by couples, and professional calls that contain secret information.
The problem is, in terms and conditions given by those products, it is said that any voice messages that are asked to Google Home and Google Assistant will be recorded and saved. Many users may ignore those matters based on the facts that they don’t know anything about these matters. On the other hand, something that is not stated in terms and conditions is permissions for Google staff to listen to the recorded quotes.
The controversy is getting bigger after people know that Google’s competitors, Amazon and Facebook tend to look more professional. Those technology companies make sure to exclude themselves in any product they produce unless; it is the requests from their customers. This way, users’ privacy can be kept better.
One of the protests was stated by Jim Killock, the Executive Director of Open Rights Group. He said that companies should do the right thing and make sure people choose to be recorded. Additionally, based on his opinion, it is funny to force people or customers to check whether every company intrudes their home or not.
The statement comes out after Google defends them by saying that about one of 500 users is subject to the human checks.
Is it true that Amazon and Apple excluded in the practice?
The main accusation comes to Google as they have been confessed to the ability of staff to listen to private quotes. Meanwhile, other companies defend themselves to do the same practice. However, the different thing is said by the Bloomberg News Agency. The company reported some technology companies including Amazon, Google, and Apple were involved in the practice.
The company’s involvement can be analyzed through some products and features available in the market, In general, some smart products are indeed equipped by staff label words and phrases. Words and phrases are mainly functioned to help improve voice-recognition accuracy in products’ software. And that’s true, some companies have such products. For example, they are Microsoft with their Xbox, Amazon with their Alexa recordings, and Facebook with their Opt Out for Portal Voice Recording Check.
Sure, the practice is considered common and reasonable. Without the feature, it is impossible for the companies to develop their products well and enjoy by customers. But it doesn’t reduce the fact that the customers’ privacy has been violated.
How to Solve the Problem
Undeniably, big technology companies have put many efforts to develop the feature applied in Google Assistant and Google Home. It is all to help customers to ease daily activities for sure. But in the future, it is expected that alternatives can be invented particularly to make sure customers’ privacy is kept well.
To solve this problem, at least for now, one of Google Assistant’s managers apologized for the mistake. He claimed that the quotes and data recorded are mainly used to make the product works. Besides, the setting menu was actually obviously shown that humans are included in the process.
Since the new technology how to make Google Assistant work well without human involvement has not been invented well, one solution seems good to use, at least for nowadays. Google planned to provide a feature that enables users to set the sensitivity level of the products. This way, the customers can choose the Google Assistant’s sensitivity. The more sensitive it is, there will be more quotes to be recorded.
The data stored are also automatically deleted after a few months. Therefore, there will not be records in the past to be played in the future. They are all gone except the customers themselves who have the willingness to keep them all.