Irish Data Protection Commission to investigate Facebook for listening to Messenger conversations
Facebook says it has paused the practice.
The Irish Data Protection Commission is set to probe Facebook for providing audio from private Messenger conversations to third party contractors for analysis.
A Bloomberg report found that the company has been using hundreds of outside contractors to provide text versions of audio messages sent through Facebook Messenger.
Facebook has said that it has paused human review of audio, however, on Wednesday the Irish Data Protection Commission, which takes the lead in overseeing Facebook in Europe, said it was examining the activity for possible violations of the EU’s strict GDPR.
A spokesperson for the DPC confirmed to JOE that a probe into Facebook is underway and said it’s already looking at similar data processing by Google, Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
"Further to our ongoing engagement with Google, Apple and Microsoft in relation to the processing of personal data in the context of the manual transcription of audio recordings, we are now seeking detailed information from Facebook on the processing in question and how Facebook believes that such processing of data is compliant with their GDPR obligations," the spokesperson said.
Other big companies such as Amazon and Apple have come under scrutiny in recent months for gathering audio from consumer devices and having the audio reviewed by people.
Critics of the practice say it is an invasion of people's privacy.