Google Home: Spies on Consumers

Computers and Devices Apps, Websites and Software

The Allegations:

Google markets and sells a popular line of voice-activated hardware device that enables consumers to get information regarding a range of topics, like the time, weather, status of traffic, and current news. These devices, which include the Google Home, Google Home Hub, Google Home Mini, and Google Nest (collectively, “Google Home” or “Product”), contain a sensitive microphone that can pick up sound throughout much of a user’s home.

To allay privacy concerns and increase sales of the device, Google has consistently represented to consumers that it will not record or process their conversations or other audio unless they use a specific activation phrase, such as “Hey Google” or “Ok Google.” Google’s representations left consumers with the impression that their conversations and other audio would not be recorded and/or sent to Google without their authorization.

Google’s representations were false. Google, in fact, configured the Google Home to record, retrieve, and process audio throughout users’ homes—even when users did not do anything to activate it.

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