March 18, 2018

Google Home Mini caught spying on user 24/7

11 October 2017, 04:20 | Lucia Cruz

Google Home Mini updated to stop it from accidentally recording everything

Some Google Home Mini review units were listening to everything – but it's fixed

The Home Mini is set to launch on October 19 and ahead of that official launch, as Google and other manufacturers normally do, the device was placed in the hands of reviewers around the globe.

Android Police writer Artem Russakovskii was surprised to discover that the new Google Home Mini was saving thousands of recordings, containing anything but commands. Two days later on October 6th, he noticed that the Mini was activating repeatedly while he was trying to watch TV. So, Russakovskii visited Google's My Activity portal on the web and made a startling discovery. It can be disabled, but Russakovskii's wasn't.

"My Google Home Mini was inadvertently spying on me 24/7 due to a hardware flaw", he wrote.

Google's response time for the issue was quite fast, working over a weekend to resolve the issue, so hopefully this will be the end of this. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue".

But when the home speaker is Google's new Home Mini, all sorts of red flags go up.

OnePlus reportedly collecting lots of data on its users without telling them
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"We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly". If you're having any additional issues, please feel free to contact Google Support at 1-855-971-9121.

Google identified the problem and revealed that there was a problem with the touch panel at the top which can be used to activate the Assistant by long-pressing it.

Potentially impacted users can find more information on this Google support page.

The company told him that it was "in the process of building a long-term fix, whatever it may be" but Mr Russakovskii said it was "too early to say if they're going to be able to deal with "phantom" touch events entirely in software or if a recall for affected units will be in order".

Google Home Mini, the puck-like smart home device from the Alphabet-owned company, has a big problem. Google isn't sitting around listening in on all that audio; what the device hears is sent out to servers where the processing magic happens to answer your query and the data is then sent back to the speaker for you to hear. The software fix prevents the activation of the speaker with a touch, which was a feature meant to offer options for activation.

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