Google and Apple to tackle voice assistant privacy concerns at Oireachtas committee

Internet giants Google and Apple will appear before an Oireachtas committee this afternoon to discuss privacy concerns surrounding their voice-activated digital assistants.

It comes just months after concerns were raised about social media giant Facebook handing user audio clips to human contractors to help improve the accuracy of its automatic transcription service.

The joint committee on communications, climate action and environment is seeking to clarify how audio data recorded by digital assistants or voice assistants like Google’s Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri is handled.

The meeting will take place in Leinster House, Committee Room 4 at 1pm today, and will be streamed live.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, committee chair Hildegarde Naughton said: “There is growing concern about the recording of voices by these devices. If the microphone is always on in our homes, what data is being stored and who can listen to that data or who is it being shared with? What profiles are being created from the data collected by these devises and who is this information being shared with?

“Visitors that come into the home or unsuspecting children may also have their data collected. We are all vulnerable when we do not know what is happening to our own data. We are exploring this issue in terms of data protection and whether stronger transparency and legislation is needed in this area.”

Tags: Privacy law

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