UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Apple admitted that wiretapping customer conversations with Siri’s voice assistant violated their privacy and apologized.
The company made this decision after an audit, which was carried out according to customer complaints. They learned from media reports that conversations between users and Siri are recorded and selectively listened by contract employees who analyze the work of the voice assistant and help him “learn” to better recognize speech.
It turned out that such work is being carried out including recordings of people’s conversations with doctors, business partners, drug dealers and sexual partners, and the recording metadata theoretically made it possible to identify the participants in the conversation.
Apple has confirmed the decision to suspend recordings of conversations with Siri. It will be resumed in the fall, but not with recordings of real conversations, but with recordings created using speech synthesizers.
The function for recording real conversations will be disabled. Users will be able to participate in this program at will and for the period for which they want. They will take records of hassles with Siri from them under the guarantee of the protection of their data and privacy. Only Apple employees will have the right to listen to their conversations. The company will not store already made records.
The media learned about listening to recordings of conversations with Siri at the end of July 2019. In early August, Apple explained that this work was being done to improve the quality of the voice assistant, but suspended the project. Then the company was filed in one of the courts in California.
Since 2011, Siri’s voice assistant has been integrated into various Apple devices: smartphones, computers, smart speakers. In many of them, Siri works in the standby mode of the activation phrase “Hello Siri” or “Hey Siri”. Having heard the command, the device began to record the user’s speech, sent data to the Apple server for processing, and then voiced the response or performed the required action.
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