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Google launches review after leak of audio conversations

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Google Logo AFP/File / STR

Google said it was conducting an internal review after it discovered confidential audio had been leaked by a contractor of private conversations with its digital assistant.

The US internet giant acknowledged “misconduct” in the leak of the Dutch language conversations by one of its language experts contracted to help refine its Google Assistant, the artificial intelligence-powered system for voice interactions.

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Google made the announcement Thursday following a report by Belgian broadcaster VRT that it could access fragments of conversations from smart speakers and other Google devices in Belgium and Netherlands.

The leak appeared to be from one of the language experts Google uses around the world to help it refine its program.

“We just learned that one of these language reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data,” Google product manager David Monsees said in a blog post.

“Our security and privacy response teams have been activated on this issue, are investigating, and we will take action. We are conducting a full review of our safeguards in this space to prevent misconduct like this from happening again.”

The incident highlighted concerns about smart speakers and devices “listening” to private conversations or archiving audio files that could be inappropriately accessed.

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Privacy activists have accused Amazon of inappropriately storing conversations with children on its Echo Kids devices, asking for a federal investigation.

Amazon has said it complies with federal laws on audio data and relies on guidance from family safety experts for its data storage.


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2020 Election

Arizona Republican likens Trump’s loss to Japan getting nuked while losing WW II — but as a good thing

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President Donald Trump on Monday allowed President-elect Joe Biden's transition to proceed -- while vowing he would never concede.

Despite Trump losing the election, some Trump supporters are refusing to accept the outcome.

One Arizona Republican in Congress, Paul Gosar, drew upon the historical knowledge him learned on his way to becoming a dentist in a bizarre analogy he posted on Twitter.

Gosar suggested the Trump movement would be like an Imperial Japanese soldier in World War II who refused to surrender until 1974.

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2020 Election

Neal Katyal predicts law schools will teach a ‘Worst Mistakes in Court’ class on Trump’s ‘pathetic’ 20-day fiasco

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Prominent lawyer Neal Katyal is best known for having tried over 40 cases before the United States Supreme Court and serving as acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration.

But he also has spent more than two decades as a law professor at Georgetown.

He drew upon all of that experience for a Monday evening appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

"Someday a law school class is going to be called 'The Worst Mistakes in Court' -- and it will be just about these 20 days," Katyal predicted. "Because this legal strategy is so pathetic it makes Trump's coronavirus strategy look competent by contrast."

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2020 Election

Trump vows he ‘will never concede’ — in 11 pm conspiracy-filled rant

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Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential to President-elect Joe Biden, but is still refusing to concede.

White House aides reportedly convinced him to allow Biden to begin his transition by telling him he did not need to use the word "concede."

But that word appeared to be on his mind late Monday night.

"What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history?" Trump asked while continuing to lie about the election being corrupt.

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