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August 14, 2019
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Think Protection

Facebook Contractors Listening In On Users Recordings

Do you use Facebook Messenger to speak with friends? Have you tried Messenger's voice chats? Voice chats are convenient and have a cool factor to it. I bet you thought that all conversations through there were private. Well, sadly that's not the case. It was announced that Facebook contractors have been listening in on user's recordings.

Facebook contractors would listen to the recordings and transcribe the discussions. They would then match the content with the auto-recording to see how well the voice recognition software would match.

Facebook is the latest major company to announce that humans have listened in on customer recordings without the customer's knowledge. They join Amazon, which has stated that contractors have listened in on user's Alexa recordings. Google also made a similar announcement. Both were done for quality control. In Google's case though 15% were done through accidental recordings. Apple also has used humans to "grade" the quality of Siri.

The above makes one wonder about privacy with verbal controlled devices. The customer is not made aware of the fact that humans will be going through their recordings. This brings up major security issues. What if the customer is talking about delicate information? Banking info? Pin numbers?

What if the user is talking about a neighbor? Can the device make accidental calls? What if the conversation is recorded and rebroadcasted? Does the user have to worry about potential extortion?

It is important to understand that these devices may have a coolness element to them, but they are security risks. They are proactively listening, which means that they may be triggered accidentally. Moreover, humans may access your recordings. If you have any issue with someone potentially listening in on you, then DO NOT have one of these devices in your home. The safest way to make sure someone cannot listen in on you, is to simply not have an Alexa or Google home device.

These major companies should also make it known clearly that they employ individuals that will have access to customer information and data. These companies farm the data to help monetize the customer. This is through remarketing other services and products based on customer profiles and data acquired through the devices. It needs to be clearer though that information is stored and humans may be actively listening.

Think Protection does not access any customer information gathered through the use of our products and services. We do not look at customer videos. Our sole focus is security. Unfortunately other major companies do not share the same vision.

Read more about Facebook contractors listening in on customer recordings HERE.