Google, Apple and Amazon all have similar contractors
If this story sounds familiar to you so far, it is with good reason. Last month, we reported that Google conceded that it gave employees the access to audio recordings from Google Assistant and Google Home speakers. To make matters worse, the files include not only voice commands and queries “consciously” made by users – but also “conversations that should never have been recorded, some of which contain sensitive information.”
In fact, that wasn’t the first story that showed how our interactions with virtual assistants may not be as private and secure as we might believe. In April this year, we reported that thousands of Amazon employees around the world listen to users’ voice recordings captured on Alexa-powered Echo speakers. Amazon workers listen to the audio clips which they then transcribe, annotate and feed back into the software to improve Alexa’s voice recognition ability and to help it understand commands better.
Not only Google and Amazon, Apple, who claim to be the de facto flagbearers of protecting users’ privacy (writing from the perspective of their recent ad campaign in India), have also had a similar “grading” process that allowed the company’s employees to “review” audio recordings collected by Siri. Apple announced on August 2 that it had halted the process.