2019-08-28

Xiaomist Inc.

Apple apologized for eavesdropping on conversations with Siri and abolished the listening program by subcontractors

Apple recently disappointed with the information that our instructions given to Siri's assistant could be later interrogated by strangers. The company apologizes and assures that it will not make this mistake again.

If we read the license agreements carefully, we probably would not be surprised by this. However, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple seemed to be running a program for manually analyzing voice samples from commands issued to digital assistants. The purpose of this action is not even too ominous - technicians analyze commands to which assistants responded improperly, which leads to their improvement in terms of speech recognition. However, I doubt that anyone would feel comfortable with the knowledge that in fact they are being overheard by a stranger.

One of the biggest disappointments was Apple. The creators of the iPhone have so far boasted - and not without reason - how much they guard the privacy of their users. A lot of effort in building this reputation was wasted after we found out that Siri was passing on more about Apple to us than we would like .

We are sorry that we were not faithful to our ideals.

Apple has published a statement on eavesdropping on voice messages on its media website. The company apologized and announced immediate improvement. Apple, it ensures, will no longer collect Siri users' voice samples on the service's default settings. However, it will allow those willing to participate in the quality improvement program - and thus to the analysis of voice samples by people - but the user will consciously have to agree to it.

What's more, Apple will no longer employ subcontractors for this job. From now on, only employees of the company will have access to the voice samples. And in fact, according to information obtained by Guardian , the contract with over 300 employees responsible for the supervision of recordings was terminated. Apparently in a very rude way, but this is not the most important thing here.

Now it's time for the others.

Apple was caught by the hand and reacted accordingly, giving up the entire program. What will Microsoft, Amazon and Google do? I am particularly interested in the first one, because - like Apple - it promotes respect for the privacy of its customers as one of its main advantages. Although it must be admitted that in the case of Microsoft, the collection of voice samples is basically the same as under the new Apple rules - so by default it is turned off, and the user is encouraged to turn on the mechanism.

This slow recognition of the problem, which is excessive data collection about us by large corporations, should please us. I believe that the border has long been crossed, as well as the allowable impact of these large companies on our lives. And even if this is really about improving the quality of Siri's operation, it is good. Good move, Apple. I count on consistency.



Apple apologized for eavesdropping on conversations with Siri and abolished the listening program by subcontractors

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