A Bitter Ex-Apple Sub-Contractor in Europe is demanding that action be taken against Apple for basically 'wiretapping entire populations' via Siri
In early August 2019 Patently Apple posted a report titled "With Apple's Siri 'Grading' in the Privacy Spotlight, Apple Decides to Temporarily Suspend the Practice." Then in the blink of an eye a Class Action was filed against Apple for unlawful and intentional recording of individuals’ confidential communications on Siri without their consent. Towards the end of August Apple made it public that they were working on improving Siri's Privacy protections.
Today, the UK Guardian posted a report titled "Apple whistleblower goes public over 'lack of action.' Former Apple Contractor Thomas Le Bonniec is on record saying that Apple is violating rights and continues massive collection of data.
In a letter announcing his decision, sent to all European data protection regulators, Thomas le Bonniec said: "It is worrying that Apple (and undoubtedly not just Apple) keeps ignoring and violating fundamental rights and continues their massive collection of data."
Bonniec added that "I am extremely concerned that big tech companies are basically wiretapping entire populations despite European citizens being told the EU has one of the strongest data protection laws in the world. Passing a law is not good enough: it needs to be enforced upon privacy offenders."
Le Bonniec, 25, worked as a subcontractor for Apple in its Cork offices, transcribing user requests in English and French, until he quit in the summer of 2019 due to ethical concerns with the work.
Further Bonniec stated: "I listened to hundreds of recordings every day, from various Apple devices (eg. iPhones, Apple Watches, or iPads). These recordings were often taken outside of any activation of Siri, eg in the context of an actual intention from the user to activate it for a request. These processings were made without users being aware of it, and were gathered into datasets to correct the transcription of the recording made by the device.
The recordings were not limited to the users of Apple devices, but also involved relatives, children, friends, colleagues, and whoever could be recorded by the device.
These practices are clearly at odds with the company’s ‘privacy-driven’ policies and should be urgently investigated by data protection authorities and Privacy watchdogs." For more, read the full Guardian report.
The issue is not exclusive to Apple. In fact, years before the issue with Siri came to light, the Google Home Mini was first to get heat for the speaker's eavesdropping capability back in 2017. In 2019 C/NET posted a report titled "Amazon and Google are listening to your voice recordings. Here's what we know about that."
As noted at the top of our report via a link to an Apple statement, Apple has been working to improve the matter with specific measures. So in respect to Apple, this seems to be a lot of noise about nothing.