Google recorded 1000 children

Mass surveillance

Published 21 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Google is once again in the spotlight.

A leaked internal database reveals thousands of privacy incidents at Google between 2013 and 2018. The incidents include the recording of children’s voices and the exposure of user addresses in GPS navigation software Waze (Google).

According to a report by 404 Media, a leaked internal Google database has revealed thousands of privacy incidents that occurred between 2013 and 2018, writes Business Insider. The leaked information was sent anonymously to 404 Media and reveals several instances where Google’s privacy policies may have been violated.

The incidents were reported by employees between six and nine years ago and have since been reviewed and addressed, according to a Google spokesperson.

Among the most notable incidents is one in which one of Google’s voice recognition services recorded the audio of an estimated 1,000 children for about an hour.

Another incident involved a pixelation bug on YouTube that resulted in exposed and uncensored images. The leaked database also revealed that Google’s Street View algorithm stored car license plates.

Google claims improvements

A Google spokesperson claimed in a comment to Business Insider that several of the incidents cited in the report were not actual incidents, but rather internal security simulations or false alarms about product bugs.

Officials also state that they have “implemented hundreds of new safeguards over the past six years to ensure user security and privacy”. Examples cited include a third-party issue with a vendor the company used for employee travel, and attempts to defraud WiFi networks at an industry conference.

Google also says that since 2019, it has updated YouTube’s policies on children and privacy. This, it says, will limit data collection on videos made for children to only what is necessary to support the service.

The company also notes that its products “regularly undergo independent security, privacy, and compliance reviews to achieve global standards”.

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