Apple is sorry that its contractors listened to your sex-talks
A few weeks back, a report revealed that Apple's contractors had been listening to and reviewing recordings from Siri (Apple's digital assistant). The practice raised major alarms among iPhone and Siri users, many of whom questioned the amount of sensitive data the Cupertino giant may be gathering. Now, Apple has apologized for its data collection practice, and decided to change its review process.
Siri recordings collected for grading, quality control: Apple
When the report, published by The Guardian, revealed the practice of manual recording assessment, Apple clarified it was part of an effort to improve Siri. The company said they used less than 0.2% of all Siri activations to make sure the assistant handles queries accurately and doesn't trigger automatically. Plus, it emphasized, the recordings were handled securely, without being associated with users' Apple IDs.
Then, audio grading process was stopped, practices were reviewed
After its rather unconvincing clarification, Apple has now decided to halt audio grading in response to the revelation and concerns stemming from it. The company conducted a thorough 'practice review' for a month. It said it hasn't been fully living up to its 'high ideals' and will, therefore, make major changes to the Siri review so that requests aren't collected without permission.
How Siri recording collection process will change
As part of the changes, Apple is making Siri recording review completely opt-in. The company has said it will not retain any recordings by default and provide users an option to opt-in for sending Siri conversations to Apple's servers for review and grading. Notably, those who choose to opt-in will also have the option to opt-out of the process, anytime.
Also, review will take place internally
Along with taking users' explicit permissions, Apple has also confirmed that the recordings won't go to outside contractors. Instead, the company's own employees will review the interactions manually and "work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri." This means, your Siri conversations, if you choose, will be reviewed but not outside the company.
The changes will come later this year
Having said that, it's important to note that the Siri review process will remain suspended until Apple introduces these changes later this year. The company will release software updates for its devices and, presumably, introduce an option that you would be able to use for saying 'yes' to the Siri audio grading. All others will be opted-out automatically.