Apple says it will no longer retain audio recordings of your interactions with Siri by default and has issued an apology for having done so previously.
“We realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize,” Apple stated on its website.
Apple had taken a lot of heat for the practice recently following a report by the Guardian that contractors “regularly hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and recordings of couples having sex, as part of their job providing quality control, or `grading’” Siri.
“We know customers have been concerned … We heard their concerns,” the company wrote.
Apple had previously announced that it halted the grading practice, which, following software updates and other changes, will resume in the fall.
“Before we suspended grading, our process involved reviewing a small sample of audio from Siri requests – less than 0.2% – and their computer-generated transcripts, to measure how well Siri was responding and to improve its reliability,” the company wrote. “For example, did the user intend to wake Siri? Did Siri hear the request accurately? And did Siri respond appropriately to the request?”
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Though it will no longer hold onto those Siri audio recordings by default, Apple says it will let customers opt in to the program when it returns so that it can continue to improve the widely used digital assistant through such audio samples. (Either way, Apple says it will continue to rely on computer-generated transcripts to help improve Siri.)
Apple added for those customers that choose to opt in, only the company’s own employees will be allowed to listen to the Siri audio exchanges and will “work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.”
Apple has repeatedly referred to privacy as a human right and even has run ads touting its privacy record. So this latest episode has tarnished the company’s standing on that count.
Readers: Has this episode made you more or less reluctant to use Siri? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow @edbaig on Twitter