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Not just your home speaker, smartphone or security camera, even third-party contractors are recording and secretly listening to your Google Assistant recordings, a new report has claimed.

According to Belgian broadcaster VRT News, your conversations with Google Home speakers are being recorded and audio clips are being sent to sub-contractors who are “transcribing the audio files for subsequent use in improving Google’s speech recognition”.


“VRT, with the help of a whistleblower, was able to listen to some of these clips and subsequently heard enough to discern the addresses of several Dutch and Belgian people using Google Home,” The Next Web reported on Wednesday.

The transcribers heard just everything: personal information, bedroom talks, domestic violence and what not. VRT “overheard countless men searching for porn, arguments between spouses, and even one case in which a woman seemed to be in an emergency situation”.


This was despite the fact that some of Google Home users did not even say the wake word, “Hey Google”. Wikimedia Commons

The platform that the whistleblower showed to VRT had recordings from all over the world.
This was despite the fact that some of Google Home users did not even say the wake word, “Hey Google”. Reacting to this, Google said it only transcribes and uses “about 0.2 per cent of all audio clips”, to improve their voice recognition technology.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement that it has launched an investigation into this. The news comes at a time when Amazon Alexa is already facing scrutiny for allegedly recording conversations at home. Amazon has been sued by a Massachusetts woman on behalf of her 10-year-old daughter and children from eight other US states.

Filed in a federal court in Seattle, the lawsuit alleges Amazon of saving “voice prints” of millions of children by unlawfully recording their conversations around Alexa-enabled smart devices, reports Vox news.

The woman has alleged the e-commerce giant for illegally recording children and adding them to “a massive database of billions of voice recordings containing the private details of millions of Americans”.


Reacting to this, Google said it only transcribes and uses “about 0.2 per cent of all audio clips”, to improve their voice recognition technology. VOA

Earlier in May, US Senators and a group of 19 consumer and public health advocates accused Amazon for recording and saving conversations that take place around its smart speakers, urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate into the case.

ALSO READ: Can Mimicking be Dangerous? Hackers Using Artificial Intelligence to Impersonate CEOs’ Voices

Amazon has time and again denied the charge that Alexa records private conversations. The company recently added support for new voice commands to let users ask Alexa to delete previous voice recordings. Amazon has also launched an “Alexa Privacy Hub”, supposed to offer an easy way to learn how Alexa works and find privacy controls.

The company has reportedly admitted it does not always delete the stored data that it obtains through its voice assistant Alexa and Echo line-up of smart devices. As reported by the CNET, Brian Huseman, Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy, responded to Delaware Senator Chris Coons on June 28, informing that Amazon keeps the transcripts until users “manually delete the information”. (IANS)


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Photo by Brian Kostiuk on Unsplash

Traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market.

By Md Waquar Haider

When popular smartphone brands like Xiaomi and realme entered the laptop market in India last year, they were expected to shake the existing giants, specifically under the Rs 50,000 category. However, chip shortage and supply crunch have somewhat dented their plans to make a significant mark to date. According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. The first one is a massive supply crunch in the laptop component market and only big brands are able to get volume and supplies.

The other factor is that the traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market. Top 3 players control more than 70 per cent of the market and strong portfolio, distribution, and channel reach as well as brand marketing has helped them massively. "New brands can surely make a dent in the consumer laptop market but are challenged by supply issues right now. Watch out for them in 2022 as and when supply situation eases up," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India told IANS.

Dominated by HP Inc, Lenovo and Dell, the traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in India continued to be robust as the shipments grew by 50.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter (Q2), according to IDC. Notebook PCs continue to hold more than three-fourth share in the overall category and grew 49.9 per cent YoY in 2Q21, reporting a fourth consecutive quarter with over 2 million units. Desktops also indicated a recovery as shipments grew 52.3 per cent YoY after recording the lowest shipments of the decade in 2Q20.

According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, driven by the pandemic and the associated accelerated pivot to remote work, learn and unwind culture, PCs have been witnessing heightened demand. "Despite the current supply chain constraints, PCs are here to stay in the new never normal. In the run-up to the festive season, established PC market leaders will continue to leverage their brand salience and gain market share," Ram told IANS.

a computer chip close up According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash

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