Where does Google Voice fit into the privacy spectrum these days?

Google - do not disturbBeing gifted a spectacular MotoX Adroid phone from my brother saddled me with the obligation to sort through privacy options I had avoided confronting until now by staying away from smart phones and as much as possible, the public observation grid. I use a client-side email application connected to a private email service, which means my mail isn’t being stored on Yahoo or Google’s servers or monitored by them (as most people’s e-correspondence is). And I use a client-side calendar as well NOT synched via the cloud, which is another layer of privacy protection I’ve got that many people gave up a long time ago.

I’m aware that when I leave home, I’m being visually recorded by dozens of cameras. And when I drive anywhere my license plate is being scanned and tracked by a network of millions of devices. I know that my EZ-Pass device is scanned in places other than toll booths and that big box retailers can follow me around their stores via my phone‘s wifi signal …

we're so exposed in the world of socialBy minimizing mobile phone use, driving and by staying away from retail spots I hoped to retain some semblance of privacy in my life and possibly, I have. But with the acquisition of this slender, miniature supercomputer I now tote around in my breast pocket, my privacy bubble has been completely burst. As long as I carry around with me the full-blown communication system which this brilliant phone represents in an internet connected world, I will have so much less privacy going forward than I did before December 20, 2013 when my brother put the power of the MotoX in my hand.

This is actually a gift I requested as at the level of activism my family practices today we need to be both mobile as well as constantly connected. So believe me, I’m not complaining. I’m just learning how to best reconcile my profound longing for privacy in a world in which this is a constantly diminishing resource. I’m reconciled with most of the privacy concessions I’m needing to make but there is one major issue I haven’t been able to clear up yet.

I have a Google Voice number that I would like to use as my Android phone’s outgoing number (the number that will show up in Caller ID when someone gets a call from me). But I haven’t been able to figure out … if I place calls using Google Voice as my outgoing call provider, is Google going to record, mine and store my entire conversations?

I was able to learn that Google records that I place calls and to whom they are made, a standard practice today which comes as no surprise to any literate person since Snowden whistleblew on the NSA’s data collection protocol last year. I also learned that Google won a patent award (which it claims not to be using yet) for mining “environmental data” from phone conversations. Meaning, Google owns the technology to listen for words in conversations placed over its network which will indicate whether a storm is brewing (in order to sell rain gear and generators) or if the weather will be fine (in order to promote trips to the beach and picnic baskets).

However, I still don’t know if Google is recording and archiving the actual, full voice phone conversations of the calls placed over its Google Voice network. I would find it very convenient to use Google Voice for my outgoing phone calls but first, I would really like to know how much more privacy I’ll be giving up if I do.

Please help a sister out if you know the answer.

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