Google and Amazon were in the news a few weeks back for admitting to listening to user conversations. Apple, a company that prides itself on its privacy policies, has now also been added to that list.
A whistleblower spoke to The Guardian and said that Apple is paying external contractors to listen to accidental Siri recordings as part of a process called “grading”. These contractors sometimes listen to sensitive recordings that include everything from drug deals to people having sex.
This process is reportedly used to detect when Siri has been activated accidentally and to improve Siri’s accuracy of responses to the users’ requests.
In response, Apple told The Guardian that these recordings are used for analysis and that they come from a random small subset. “A small portion of Siri requests are analysed to improve Siri and dictation. User requests are not associated with the user’s Apple ID. Siri responses are analysed in secure facilities and all reviewers are under the obligation to adhere to Apple’s strict confidentiality requirements,” the tech giant said in a statement to The Guardian.
Apple’s privacy explainer site does mention that Siri’s data is sent to “Apple servers”, but it does not mention that third-party contractors are hired to process and analyze them, the Indianexpress reported.