Google will stop listening to recordings captured by its smart home devices in the European Union (EU) for a period of three months while a data privacy investigation is ongoing, the tech company said on Thursday.
Recordings leaked by a Google employee in July revealed that the smart home assistants captured audio snippets in users’ homes which were reviewed by language experts employed by the company.
The revelations prompted Germany’s data protection authority to launch an investigation into Google’s practices, which they said could be in violation of the EU’s data protection regulations, according to De Standaard.
In a statement released after the leaks, the company said its terms of services state that conversations and interactions with them may be stored and sent to the company for review.
But some of the snippets leaked in June revealed that audio was sometimes recorded without express consent from the user, with some fragments allowing for the identification of some of the users, as sensitive and personal information could be heard in some of the recordings.
With the German probe ongoing, German data regulators said the company would stop “making transcripts” for all devices used in the European Union for a period of at least three months.
The Brussels Times