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With Apple's Siri "Grading" in the Privacy Spotlight, Apple Decides to Temporarily Suspend the Practice

1 hey siri


Apple said it will suspend a program that allowed its staff to listen to conversations people have had with the Siri voice assistant. Yet the suspension is somewhat temporary in nature to calm Apple's critics.   


CNBC reports that "Apple sent out a statement, in-part stating that 'We are committed to delivering a great Siri experience while protecting user privacy. While we conduct a thorough review, we are suspending Siri grading globally.


Additionally, as part of a future software update, users will have the ability to choose to participate in grading.'"


Only time will tell if user's will have the option to opt in or opt out in the settings. If user's are forced to opt out, then it's really a shell game and only a temporary suspension of the practice. We'll have to wait and see how Apple handles this when their future software update arrives.


As it stood under the program, if you said, "Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?" someone at Apple could listen to a recording of that question. Apple says it doesn’t listen to all conversations, just a small fraction. The company also says the recordings are anonymous.


While Apple hasn’t hidden the fact that it uploads this data anonymously, The Guardian reported on July 26 that workers who listen have heard about drug deals, medical details and more.


Apple's privacy push to extend encryption to thwart law enforcement apparently didn't extend it to protect private Hey Siri requests.


We're also learning today from a Business Insider (BI) report that "Google has been forced by German authorities to temporarily halt its practice of manually reviewing audio recordings that help train its Google Assistant product, according to a report on Thursday.


The European Union-wide ban will take place for three months, and comes as a result of a July report in which a Dutch media outlet used leaked audio snippets from a third-party reviewer to show that some Google Assistant users had been recorded by their devices unknowingly." Read the full BI report for more on this.


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