| Accident or Not, Google's Eavesdropping Mistake Is Terrifying|
A Google Home Mini "accidentally" listened to a tech reporter 24/7. That it was a mistake only makes it worse.
The paranoid nightmare of a voice assistant spying on you is no longer a theoretical. As Android Police reports and Google confirms, at least one early review unit of the new Google Home Mini was eavesdropping on its owner 24/7 and sending all its recordings home to Google.
Artem Russakovskii, who was using the messed-up Mini, wrote a day-by-day breakdown of his experience that included several days of constant, surreptitious recording. Sfter noticing the Mini behaving weirdly, Russakovskii checked the gadget's logs (a process the average person might not know about or think to do) and found evidence of the eavesdropping. The issue, as Google later confirmed, was that an overly sensitive touch mechanism was allowing the unit to autonomously activate itself over and over.
This issue was clearly non-nefarious and accidental. The Mini was not piping a full stream of audio back to Google on the sly, but rather hundreds of chunks that it perceived as confusing commands. Google's explanation for the issue, which it insists has been patched and only affected a few units to begin with, is straightforward and makes sense. But if you care at all about your privacy, then none of this should make you feel any better about always-listening smart assistants.
More at: popularmechanics.com