Companies like Google, Amazon and Apple, were recently criticized for using human workers to transcribe audio recordings from smart speakers and virtual assistants. Reportedly the smart assistant applications could occasionally record incidental background audio, including potentially sensitive information.
Now Google paused human transcription globally as reported by Nino Tasca, Senior Product Manager for Google Assistant. The company has apologized for felling short of their high standards in making it easy for users to understand how their data is used.
Now Google don’t retain user’s audio recording by default. Users have to opt-in to the Voice & Audio Activity (VAA) setting while setting up the Google Assistant. The transcription may still be reviewed by human experts, but its highly limited to only 0.2% of snippets.
Additionally, Google Assistant deletes all the recordings of unintentional activation. The company is implementing additional measures to better identify unintentional activation. Other companies like Amazon and Apple are expected to shortly implement similar settings to protect users privacy.