GOOGLE HAS CONFIRMED that it has halted its controversial transcription of Google Assistant recordings in Europe.
After admitting a few weeks ago that it has been allowing contractors access to the recordings, which they can then turn into written documents, the team has confirmed that it the scheme is on hold, though mostly, it would seem, so they can find out who leaked the fact it was taking place at all.
The scheme came to light last month after more than 1,000 conversations were leaked and posted to a Belgian news site.
"We are in touch with the Hamburg data protection authority and are assessing how we conduct audio reviews and help our users understand how data is used," a Google spokesperson told CNBC. "Shortly after we learned about the leaking of confidential Dutch audio data, we paused language reviews of the Assistant to investigate."
The unilateral decision is not just about some crisis of conscience from El Goog. The company is facing anti-competition probes on both sides of the Big Pond. The US recently announced plans for an investigation into the practices of Big Tech, whilst over here, the EU is waiting in the wings to throw more multi-billion Euro fines at the search giant, in addition to several individual countries' law enforcement investigations.
Earlier this week, Hamburg's Data Protection Commissioner told AP that there are "currently significant doubts" over whether Google Assistant even complies with GDPR. If it doesn't that is going to hurt the company wallet significantly.
Google says the suspension will last for at least three months whilst its own investigations take place. It has once again emphasised that these transcriptions account for just 0.2 per cent of voice clips, which it uses to hone its voice recognition systems to the quirks of different voices and accents. μ
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