Apple allows its contractors to listen to unapproved recordings by Siri

Apple allows its contractors to listen to unapproved recordings by Siri


Siri can report some of the most private of the conversations of its users which it sends to Apple contractors without letting the users know. According to a report by the Guardian, the sensitive information may include recorded clips from conversations during sex, medical info, and drug deals.

The voice assistant by Apple, Siri, then sends these clips to certain contractors who help improve the quality of voice assistance. These contractors then examine several factors such as appropriateness of the response, efficiency of the voice assistant in answering queries or if the service was prompted by the user or if it was accidental. This examination helps contractors around the world to help them in grading the service.

However, the company does not state in its privacy terms that the recorded clips are heard by human contractors. The company told the Guardian in a statement that the recordings are anonymous, and they are examined only under “secure facilities”. The contractors are under an agreement of maintaining the confidentiality of whatever they hear in the recordings. The company reassured that voice recording does not constitute even 1% of total interactions with the device. These clips are not longer than several seconds.

However, an informant within the company said that the frequency of the device getting activated without being prompted is high and bothersome. The device reportedly takes it as a cue when it hears some sounds that remotely resemble its activation phrase “Hey Siri”. The contractor who didn’t want to be named said that “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.”