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After Amazon, Google smart speakers also exposed privacy issues

The Irish Data Privacy Regulatory Authority may investigate Google. Earlier, the Belgian broadcast VRT said that Google hired contractors to listen to the audio obtained by its intelligent voice assistant.

Graham Doyle, spokesperson for the Irish Data Protection Council, said the agency received a Google notice of violation on Thursday night. Google responded in a blog post on Thursday after the Belgian broadcaster VRT reported that contractors could listen to conversations with people talking to Google Assistant.

The Irish regulator is Google's main privacy regulator in the European Union. If it finds a serious violation, the agency may impose a high fine on Google in accordance with the latest data protection rules of the European Union.

Irish data protection commissioner Helen Dixon said in an interview last month that she conducted about 20 surveys of large technology companies, including WhatsApp and Instagram platforms owned by Twitter, Apple and Facebook.

Google said in a blog post on Thursday that it is working with language experts to help improve its home digital assistant. They "review and transcribe a small set of query data to help us better understand these languages," which is "a key part of the process of building speech technology and a necessary condition for creating products such as Google Assistant."

Google also said: "We just learned that one of the language auditors leaked confidential Dutch audio data, which violates our data security policy. Our security and privacy response team has been activated on this issue, right The matter is investigated and action will be taken. We are conducting a comprehensive review of the safeguards on this issue to prevent this misconduct from happening again."

In fact, Google is not the first technology giant to expose privacy issues. Previously, the popular Amazon smart speaker Echo was also experiencing similar problems.

Amazon employs thousands of people around the world to help improve Alexa voice assistants and power their Echo line of speakers. This huge team listened to the recordings captured in the Echo owners' homes and offices. These recordings are transcribed, annotated, and fed back into the software. The Amazon team aims to eliminate Alexa's understanding of human language and help it better respond to consumer voice commands.

According to reports, listeners will hear what Echo users prefer to keep their privacy: for example, a woman who sings an unpleasant song in a shower, or a child who screams for help. In addition, these staff members often hear frustrating conversations and may even be the voice of the criminal process.

Earlier this year, the US media "The Intercept" reported that employees of Amazon's subsidiary RING manually identified vehicles and personnel in the video taken by the company's doorbell camera in order to better train the software to do the job themselves. .

Florian Schaub, a professor at the University of Michigan, who is an expert on the privacy of smart speakers, said: "You don't necessarily think of another person who is interested in listening to you. I think we are used to the assumption that these machines are only Do magical machine learning. But the truth is that human employees still need to deal with it."

He added: "Does this involve privacy issues, depending on how cautious Amazon and other companies are about the types of information they manually annotate and how they present this information to others."

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