Google to stop automatic recording of Assistant conversations

August 7, 2020

Google had come under investigation in Germany last year for possibly violating the General Data Protection Regulations, specifically because of the human review process

 

Google will stop automatic recording of interactions a user has with Google Assistant, the company announced in an email sent to users on Wednesday.

 

Users were informed that they have been opted out of a feature that saves audio recordings automatically. Users who want to save and listen to what they said to the Assistant will now have to opt-in to the feature. The move applies to all voice interactions one has with Google, whether through its smart speakers, phones, or other devices.

 

It’s a major move, since companies like Google and Amazon also use humans to listen in to these voice recordings and determine how accurately their voice assistants are behaving. Google had suspended this practice in September last year, but resumed it some time back, promising users that they will get a chance to opt into the process.

 

The company had come under investigation in Germany last year for possibly violating the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), specifically because of the human review process. Both Google and Amazon have been criticised in the past for not disclosing this human review process to users in advance.

 

As with most things around Big Tech, the company seems to have learned from those experiences.

 

It’s also worth noting that Amazon still opts in users to voice recordings, meaning if you’re an Alexa user, you will have to find the setting and opt out of it from the Alexa app on your phone. For Amazon, you can check this from the Alexa app on your phone, while Google has a My Activity page where users can manage this.

 

The email sent to users, like most privacy related emails, is convoluted and difficult to understand. However, it has a link that will take you to the My Activity page in case you want to check the setting personally.

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