‘Won’t retain Siri recordings any longer’

Bloomberg August 29 | Updated on August 29, 2019

Company says ‘sorry’after furore overprivacy breach

Apple Inc apologised for privacy mishaps surrounding its Siri voice assistant and said that it would no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions.

The announcement follows criticism of the iPhone maker and other technology giants for employing humans to listen to recordings of user interactions with voice assistants to improve the product. Apple had hundreds of contractors listening to Siri in a process called grading, and the company suspended the programme a few weeks ago in the wake of the controversy. It plans to reinstate the grading practice after making a few changes in software updates this fall.

“As a result of our review, we realise we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologise,” Apple said in a statement. The company said that users will be able to opt in to allow Apple to listen to a select bunch of anonymised audio samples in order to improve Siri, and then be able to opt out of the programme later if they wish.

In another change, Apple said only its own employees would listen to audio samples, rather than outside contractors. It also said it is making changes to the review process to lessen the data about customers that reviewers can see.

Following concerns from users that Apple could be retaining recordings from Siri that were accidentally picked up due to a mistaken button press or the system thinking the user had said Hey Siri, Apple said it would work to delete inadvertent recordings.

Published on August 29, 2019

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