OH FOR F**K'S SAKE! Facebook staffers are listening to voice commands barked at Portal smart screen devices... again.
The social network may have come across all mea culpa when it admitted that human contractors had been listening to recordings of Messenger voice chats and Portal commands as a means for artificial intelligence performance reviewing, and subsequently stopped doing it.
But Bloomberg reports that Facebook has gone back to using human contractors to review recordings collected by the Portal devices every time users bark the activation phrase "Hey Portal".
"We paused human review of the ‘Hey Portal' voice interactions last month while we worked on a plan that gave people more transparency and control, including a way to turn it off," Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's head of hardware, told Bloomberg. Basically, Facebook is back to collecting and listening to the Portal recordings.
But before you go hurling your Portal device out of the window, Facebook has tweaked its policies so that users of the gadgets, including the suite of second-generation Portal thingys, can opt-out of the recording review process.
It's worth noting that the Messenger recording and review process is still on hold, so that's one less thing the privacy-paranoid need to worry about.
However, some folks might be a bit miffed as to why Facebook has an opt-out policy rather than an opt-in one. There are plenty of people who don't even skim read T&Cs before accepting them, let alone give them a deep read. So we wouldn't be surprised to find that future Portal users have their voice commands recorded and reviewed by fellow humans by default rather than a conscious choice.
But then this is Facebook, a firm that loves chowing down on data, and we don't expect an opt-in policy would be its first choice when it can get away with an opt-out variant instead. µ
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