Since an investigation revealed the treatment of Alexa’s voice recordings by Amazon, soon the focus was on other digital assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant. In recent months, doubts have arisen about how much these attendees respect privacy, since it has been confirmed that these services have third-party employees listening to recordings to improve voice detection.
Amazon is not the only one that has been involved in this controversy, because both Google and Apple listen to private recordings through a company outsourced by companies whose objective is to analyze these conversations and requests made to the virtual assistant, to improve the service For this reason last week we indicated how you can disable Siri from the iPhone so they cannot hear you.
Google and Apple step back
Now the two main technology companies in the world want to avoid controversies with different strategies.
In the case of Cupertino, Apple plans to issue a software update to request the consent of users before allowing them to participate in the product improvement program, the “excuse” with which conversations with Siri are recorded in order of being analyzed by third parties in search of a better operation of the assistant. Meanwhile, the order has been given to stop registering the conversations, as Apple states:
While we are conducting a comprehensive review of our platform, we are suspending the Siri transcription system worldwide. In addition, as part of a future software update, users will be able to participate in the classification or not.
Google is in a similar situation, only offering a certain period of time during which they will stop registering all conversations made with their assistant. In mid-July the company recognized making a transcript of voice fragments from the assistant that contained confidential information, such as medical conditions and customer addresses.
In this case, Google will stop registering users’ voice for 3 months in order to improve the system and cease to be a participant in the controversy in which it has been involved.
We are in contact with the data protection authorities in Hamburg and together we are evaluating how we change the process so that users understand how the audio data collected by Google Assistant is used.