Ever since the Alex Hern story from The Guardian about Apple listening to Siri users has alive on the internet, media outlets have helped spread the news across the globe. This is where the latest executive action from Apple comes into play as the Cupertino-based tech giant has actually suspended the program that would require its contractors to listen to recordings made by people via Siri in its process called grading which is basically used to grade commands and responses and to determine whether Siri was invoked naturally or by mistake.
The story was popularized by The Guardian after which, Apple opened up about the program where it follows a grading process. Siri sends out recordings of Siri users to the contractors hired by Apple where this personnel is responsible for grading the audio to distinguish if Siri was invoked via a command or by mistake. Although Apple maintains that it doesn’t transmit data related to user name or IDs or any specific data that would enable the contractors to narrow down the particular user, the audio recordings that could be as long as 30 seconds could have a lot more data than otherwise thought.
A contractor further added that the recordings could contain information related to the finances, sexual encounters, criminal activities and encounters and personal conversations between doctors and patients and so on. The data further adds that HomePod and Apple Watch have been a great source when it comes to mistakenly invoking Siri for commands where it listens to the user for some time before retracting and sends out the data to the contractors for scrutinization.
Apple also stated that it sends a measly 1% of Siri requests daily to its contractors although fails to mention the same in its terms of conditions and otherwise. Since Apple has been regarded as one of the most privacy-conscious tech brands, it is a big deal how Apple moves data such as the app performance data that it transmits so that developers can gauge bugs and fix them as well.
Coming back to the grading process, Apple will roll out a software update that would allow users to select whether or not they want to be a part of Apple’s grading process. At the moment, the process is temporarily suspended. It is not the first instance of someone recorded what you say since Amazon and Google have also been tied to such a process as well which is a common practice in the tech business where the audio recordings are analyzed and graded by humans in order to curate results based on the query made.