New Report Shows your Android Is Recording and Saving Every “OK Google” Request You Make
Well this is scary: thanks to a new Android update, your phone may be secretly recording you.
Just when you thought Google couldn’t get any creepier, we get hit with a headline like this. This latest report is in regards to Google Assistant, the AI-powered platform available on the latest version of Android. It’s the AI system you access every time you say “OK Google” or hold down the microphone button.
It’s been found that Google Assistant could be recording your voice even when you don’t ask it to. In other words, even if you didn’t say, “OK Google” or acknowledge your AI-based voice assistant in other ways, your phone could still be listening to you.
This latest report comes from The Sun, which admittedly, might not be the most trustworthy news company. They went to press with a headline saying, “How Google is secretly recording you through your mobile, monitoring millions of conversations every day and storing the creepy audio files.”
Let’s look past the sensationalist headlines for a second: how exactly is Google tracking you?
The Sun alleges that your phone records your voice when you say something like, “Ok go for it.” This, to the ears of your Android device, sounds similar enough to “OK Google”. It confuses your assistant.
Now think of how many times you say, “OK” in a normal day. In many of these instances, your phone could have silently activated its microphone and begun listening to your conversation.
You Can Listen to your Audio Files from your Google Account Screen
It’s no big deal, right? Worst case scenario, your Google Assistant will perform a search request using any gibberish it heard from your conversation.
However, it gets scarier than that: the sound bites picked up by Google Assistant don’t just disappear – Google stores those audio files in a database.
“For each voice query made to Voice Search, we store the language, the country, the utterance and our system’s guess of what was said,” Google states in its policy for Voice Search, the voice recognition platform upon which Google Assistant is based.
“We keep utterances to improve our services, including to train the system to better recognize the correct search query.”
All right, now it’s time to really freak you out. Google has a page where it tracks all of the personal information Google has about you – including any audio conversations it’s picked up.
To view that information, go here: https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity
On that list, you’ll see a section called “Voice & Audio Activity”. Click on that, and you can listen to all of the things Google has picked up from your audio commands over the years.
You can literally play the audio file of you speaking into your phone. That’s right: Android has recorded those audio files for its own personal collection.
Fortunately, Google makes it easy to delete this information from the page above.
However, if you want to continue using Google Assistant, then you’ll need to continue having your audio conversations recorded. There’s no way to opt out – so you’re going to have to get used to the fact that Google wants to record and store audio files with your voice.
Ultimately, smartphones are making it easier than ever for corporations to track you. If you don’t want to be tracked, then don’t use a smartphone. Or, use an application like SpyStealth to fight back and start tracking all types of smartphone activity.