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Does Google’s Duplex violate two-party consent laws?

Google's  Duplex, which calls businesses on your behalf and imitates a real human, ums and ahsincluded, has sparked a bit of controversy among privacy advocates.

Doesn't Google recording a person's voice and sending it to a data center for analysis violate two-party consent law, which requires everyone in a conversation to agree to being recorded? The answer isn't immediately clear, and Google's silence isn't helping.

Let's take California's law as the example, since that's the state where Google is based and where it used the system.  Penal Code section 632 forbids recording any "confidential communication" (defined more or less as any non-public conversation) without the consent of all parties.

(The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press has a good state-by-state guide to these laws.). Google has provided very little in the way of details about how Duplex actually works, so attempting to answer this question involves a certain amount of informed speculation.

To begin with I'm going to consider all phone calls as "confidential" for the purposes of the law. What constitutes a reasonable expectation of privacy is far from settled, and some will have it that you there isn't such an expectation when making an appointment with a salon.

But what about a doctor's office, or if you need to give personal details over the phone?


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