Apple Says It Will No Longer Hire Humans To Listen To Your Private Siri Recordings

Posted: Aug 29 2019, 6:29am CDT | by , in Technology News

 

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Apple says it will no longer hire humans to listen to your private Siri recordings

Apple has finally apologized for having people listen in on users' private talks.

After facing intense criticism over the way it evaluates the capabilities of its voice assistant Siri, Apple has finally apologized, saying it has already suspended human grading of Siri recordings.

The statement comes about a month after The Guardian’s damning report that revealed Apple’s strategy of hiring contractors to listen in on Siri recordings in a bid to find out if Siri’s responses to people’s voice commands are appropriate.

The newspaper, at the time, said the contractors are tasked to listen in on private conversations that are secretly recorded even when Siri was not activated. These private recordings, according to The Guardian’s whistleblower, includes criminal dealings, sexual encounters, private discussions between doctors and patients, business deals and more.

Most recently, Apple has issued an apology, saying: “We know that customers have been concerned by recent reports of people listening to audio Siri recordings as part of our Siri quality evaluation process — which we call grading.”

“We heard their concerns, immediately suspended human grading of Siri requests and began a thorough review of our practices and policies. We’ve decided to make some changes to Siri as a result.”

Apple’s move could pressure other tech giants who were also dragged into the issue for having the same process of evaluating their voice assistants. Apple, Google and Amazon were earlier reported to have suspended the hiring of contractors to rate Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa. However, Google and Amazon have yet to issue an apology.

In its statement, Apple said it will work on minimizing the amount of data it collects with Siri since the assistant was designed to protect user privacy.

The maker of iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and Apple Watches also disclosed that it does not use Siri for marketing purposes, such as targeting certain ads using Siri data. The company reiterated that it does not sell the data to third-party entities.

“If you ask Siri to read your unread messages, Siri simply instructs your device to read aloud your unread messages. The contents of your messages aren’t transmitted to Siri’s servers, because that isn’t necessary to fulfill your request,” Apple explains.

Following the scandal, Apple said it reviewed the way it evaluates Siri. Apple said instead of keeping audio recordings of Siri for human review, it will instead use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.

Users will also be asked if they want samples of their Siri recordings to be used for the review. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time, the company said.

Apple added that only employees within the company, and not contractors, will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. This raises the question of Apple’s continued use of humans to listen in on Siri recordings.

Google and Amazon have yet to release an announcement.

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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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