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Google Confirms Some Home Minis Malfunctioning, Secretly Recording Owners’ Lives

By Kylie Woon, 12 Oct 2017



Google unveiled its pint-sized home assistant, the Home Mini, to a warm welcome at its 4 October keynote, thanks to its advanced machine learning, beautiful design and US$49 price tag.

However, Android Police writer Artem Russakovskii—who was gifted a Home Mini at the keynote event—discovered that the round, cute device could pose a severe invasion of privacy should it malfunction.

Russakovskii noticed that his newly installed Mini was “waking up thousands of times a day, recording, then sending those recordings to Google. All of this was done quietly, with only the four lights on the unit I wasn’t looking at flashing on and then off,” he shared.

Perturbed, he dug into the Google Assistant section of Google’s ‘My Activity’ portal and was shocked to discover that the Mini had indeed been sending thousands of recordings to Google, all without his knowledge.

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He swiftly contacted Google, which clarified that a faulty touch activation feature had caused some Minis to register false activations and turn on by themselves. Google has since disabled this function.

The company asserted that only the Home Minis distributed during the keynote were affected, and should not be an issue concerning those on pre-order.

Read Russakovskii’s entire account in full detail here, and watch a video of his Home Mini self-activating and quietly recording below.




[via Android Police, video via Android Police, opening image via Google]
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