Devin Coldewey, writing for TechCrunch:
“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 is one scenario I’m imagining for Google’s [complete refusal to answer any questions][a] related to the Duplex phone calls it has released — that they were actual Duplex calls to actual businesses (the one to Hong’s Gourmet almost certainly was, in my opinion), recorded without consent. Someone who works at the one restaurant we know Duplex called told Mashable they weren’t aware in advance.
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).