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Google Home Mini secretly recorded everything its owner said
11 October 2017, 04:20 | Justin Tyler
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Upon further investigation of his Google account's My Activityportal, Russakovskii realized the device had transmitted thousands of audio recordings to the company without his knowledge, all of which were available for playback. To interact with the Home Mini, you can either say "OK Google" or tap the top of its touch-sensitive surface.
For now, Google's "mitigation" to the issue has been to update all Google Home Minis to totally disable the "long-press to talk" functionality. After swapping the device with Google, Google engineers determined that Russakovskii's Home Mini had a defective touch panel that was registering "phantom" touch events.
While the Home Mini is typically activated by a user saying "OK, Google" or "Hey, Google", you can also activate the Mini press performing a long press on the device's panel. 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.
"My Google Home Mini was inadvertently spying on me 24/7 due to a hardware flaw", he wrote. "We immediately rolled out a software update on October 7 to mitigate the issue". And it appears that the problem is a glitch that causes affected units to think that they should be recording when they should not.
We have learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Minis that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. This change is also reflected in a separate support note describing the Home Mini's control functions, which says the long press is "temporarily disabled".
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.
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