Google Speech Transcription Suspended in Europe

August 2, 2019

Following an investigation by a German data protection agency, Google has suspended Assistant for a three-month period. Johannes Caspar, the head of the Hamburg data protection agency, found Google was recording and transcribing private conversations for examination by Google contractors. Caspar said there are "significant doubts" as to whether Google Assistant complies with EU data-protection law. Caspar previously uncovered the fact that Google Street View vehicles were intercepting and recording private wifi communications, a charge that Google denied until the hard drives in the Google vehicles were examined. In the US, Google settled a "Spy-Fi" case for $7 m with state AGs following the investigation by the German privacy agency. EPIC previously asked the FTC and the Department of Justice to determine whether "always on" devices violate federal wiretap law. Neither agency has made a determination.

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