Apple and Google last week and Amazon yesterday all announced, to varying degrees, a suspension of their system of listening conversations of users of their voice assistants following a complaint from a German organization. It remains to be seen now how these practices will be framed later …
A few weeks ago, Amazon and Google had admitted that they used subcontractors or employees to listen to certain conversations (less than 1% in general) of users of their voice assistants, in order to ” improve their voice services “. Apple, it seems, did the same with Siri. The news had moved many observers, surprised that these companies can thus listen to potentially personal information without clear warning in advance or during registration.
In this context, the Data Protection Authority of Hamburg has just announced that it has obtained a suspension of these practices that will apply for three months in the European Union for the voice assistant of Google, and in a definitive way for Apple, all over the world. ” These companies must transparently inform the persons concerned about the processing of voice commands, but also about the frequency and risks of nuisance tripping that they generate,” said Johannes Caspar, Commissioner for Data Protection and Privacy. freedom of information within the German authority.
Apple has indicated that it plans to put in place a prior authorization request system to its users to implement this listening process. Google has suspended its practices for 3 months from August 1 without explaining precisely what it intends to do to improve the situation. In the process, Amazon announced that it would allow Alexa users to disable the listening system.
Everything is suspended for now. It remains to be seen, by the end of the year certainly, how these systems will be reintroduced in Europe to be more consistent with the RGPD