“It may be possible with careful design to extract the features
you need without keeping the original, in a way where it’s
mathematically impossible to recreate the recording,” Kortz said.
If that process is verifiable and there’s no possibility of
eavesdropping — no chance any Google employee, law enforcement
officer, or hacker could get into the system and intercept or
collect that data — then potentially Duplex could be deemed
benign, transitory recording in the eye of the law.
That assumes a lot, though. Frustratingly, Google could clear this
up with a sentence or two. It’s suspicious that the company didn’t
address this obvious question with even a single phrase, like
Sundar Pichai adding during the presentation that “yes, we are
compliant with recording consent laws.” Instead of people
wondering if, they’d be wondering how.
This wouldn’t send anyone to prison, but it would be a bit of an embarrassment, and would reinforce the notion that Google has a cavalier stance on privacy (and adhering to privacy laws).