Google’s new real-time captions feature, Live Caption, will soon be able to eavesdrop on voice and video calls to transcribe them as you speak. The feature is troubling in light of Google’s shaky history on privacy. In 2019, user audio recorded by Google Assistant was leaked to the media, who revealed that contractors around the world regularly listened to recordings of Google users without their knowledge.
The Verge reports that Google’s new real-time captions feature, Live Caption, is being enabled to listen in on voice and video calls to transcribe them as people talk. Google announced on Monday that while Live Caption previously only worked with media played on Android phones like a YouTube video, the new functionality means that users will be able to call someone and get live captions of what they’re saying as they talk.
The Verge reporter Dieter Bohn posted a video to Twitter showing how his Google Pixel 4A was capable of transcribing what he said in real-time and displaying it on the phone screen.
— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) August 3, 2020
In Google’s announcement of the expanded capabilities of the feature, the company wrote: “Pixel 4a also has Live Caption, which provides real-time captioning (English only) for your video and audio content. New with the Pixel 4a launch—and also rolling out for Pixel 2, 3, 3a and 4 phones—Live Caption will now automatically caption your voice and video calls.”
Breitbart News reported in 2019 that Google contractors are employed to listen to audio recordings from Google Assistant that were captured without users’ knowledge. Google paused the practices after the company was made aware of a data leak from a Dutch media outlet that released audio snippers that showed that users had been recorded by their devices without their knowledge. Read more at Breitbart News here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org