By default, Apple will no longer keep Siri recordings
Apple has officially apologized for its privacy practices,secretly allowing manual contractors to listen to customers talking to Siri digital assistants to improve the recording of services. “We realized that we have not fully realized our lofty ideals, and we apologize for this,” Apple wrote in the statement.
Apple also announced several changes to the Siri privacy policy:
First, by default, we will no longer keep recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer generated transcripts to help Siri improve. Second, users can choose to help Siri improve by learning the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri become better because they know that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls. Those who choose to participate can opt out at any time. Finally, when the customer chooses to join, only Apple employees are allowed to listen to Siri’s interactive audio samples. Our team will work to remove any recordings that have been identified as unintentionally triggered by Siri.
Apple is one of several major technology companies, including Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft, which use paid manual contractors to review the recordings of their digital assistants. This fact is not clear to customers. According to the Guardian report, these contractors have access to recordings filled with private information, usually due to accidental Siri triggers, which are said to listen to as many as 1,000 recordings per day.
After the report was released, Apple announced that it would suspend the scoring process for evaluating these recordings. “We are committed to providing a superior Siri experience while protecting user privacy,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement to Verge. Previously, Apple’s policy would keep Siri’s random recordings for up to six months, after which it would delete an identification that would hold a copy of two or more years.
According to today’s announcement, non-selective recordings and subsequent rating policies are now suspended. Apple said it will not retain Siri’s recordings unless the user specifically chooses it. If the customer does choose to provide their data to Apple, then only Apple employees can access it (obviously not, which seems to imply that the contractor is hired). The company also promised that it would work to remove recordings of accidental triggers, which the Guardian reported were the main source of sensitive information.
According to Apple’s statement, the company plans to rate Siri recordings later this fall based on these new policies, and the software update adds a new opt-in option to its devices.