Google Home Mini caught spying on user 24/7

Google's Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything

These faulty sensors can be found on the first units of the Google Home Mini, and these were the units that were handed over to the reviewers at Google's Pixel event October 4, 2017.

After contacting Google press relations with an urgent request explaining the issue, Russakovskii heard back in minutes.

Last week, Google launched Home Mini, a $49 voice-enabled speaker that turned out to have the interesting habit of recording every damn sound in your house, and sending them to Google servers. Google's online account security and privacy tools include an activity timeline that can be filtered to specific products and services, and Android Police confirmed that the Home Mini was indeed uploading thousands of audio snippets to Google's servers as if they were user commands.

As an added precaution, all activity and queries created by long-pressing the touch sensor on Home Mini speakers between October 4-7 have been wiped and will no longer show up on owner's My Activity Page. In Google Home Mini's case, users can hold their finger down at the top to access Google Assistant. As a result, Google has rolled out a software patch that deactivates the touch panel entirely.

You can see in the video created by Artem how the Google Home Mini would activate on its own as indicated by the four lights turning on.

As well as documenting his finding, Russakovskii reported the issue to Google - and the company was quick to respond and investigate.

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It turns out that some Google Home Minis, the smart speakers that the company released in early October, were nearly continuously recording audio from users' homes.

"We learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Mini devices that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly".

With Russakovskii's Mini it contemplated that somebody was holding its finger down on the top and so was unmethodically initiating and recording.

In the meantime, Google allows users to deactivate any existing Google devices from saving audio recordings via its settings page.

The issue prevailed over the few initial units of Google Home Mini, including the ones that were distributed as review units. The devices basically act as if someone is long-pressing the button to activate Assistant all the time, so they are recording nearly constantly.

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