Whistleblower Claims Confidential Siri Recordings Are Sent To Apple's Contractors For Grading

Posted: Jul 26 2019, 7:00pm CDT | by , in Technology News

 

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Apple whistleblower claims confidential recordings are sent to contractors for grading
Photo by Apple

The information puts Apple further under the microscope of regulatory bodies.

A whistleblower has revealed that Apple has hired third-party contractors to regularly listen to users’ confidential recordings for further assessment.

The Guardian reports that these contractors regularly listen in to people’s drug deals, recordings of couples having sex, as well as confidential medical information as part of their job.

“There have been countless instances of recordings featuring private discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, seemingly criminal dealings, sexual encounters and so on. These recordings are accompanied by user data showing location, contact details, and app data,” the source told The Guardian.

These recordings are obtained through Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, and are reviewed by contractors to assess whether Siri was activated accidentally or by the user, and to check if Siri’s responses are appropriate, the whistleblower who works for the contracted firm reportedly told the news outlet.

The newspaper said Apple has claimed that the data that is transmitted to the contractors and that the review that they are conducting “is used to help Siri and dictation … understand you better and recognise what you say.”

The whistleblower further revealed that there are a number of ways to activate Siri other than calling out “Hey Siri.” The voice assistant is also triggered when it hears the sound of a zip, or if the Apple Watch has been raised and then hears speech.

The whistleblower further told the news outlet that the Apple Watch and Apple’s HomePod smart speaker are the most frequent sources of mistaken recordings. “The watch can record some snippets that will be 30 seconds – not that long but you can gather a good idea of what’s going on.”

The tech giant, whose voice assistant works on a number of its devices like iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and Apple Watches, issued the following statement to The Guardian:

“A small portion of Siri requests are analysed to improve Siri and dictation. User requests are not associated with the user’s Apple ID. Siri responses are analysed in secure facilities and all reviewers are under the obligation to adhere to Apple’s strict confidentiality requirements.” The company added that a very small random subset, less than 1% of daily Siri activations, are used for grading, and those used are typically only a few seconds long.”

However, Apple did not say whether the assessment is done by humans who listen to the private recordings.

This story may contain affiliate links.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/81" rel="author">Mandy Jean</a>
Mandy covers the latest news in Tech and Business.

 

 

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