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Hey Siri, stop eavesdropping

by Harvest Prude
Posted 8/29/19, 12:37 pm

Apple said Wednesday it will stop recording user interactions with its digital voice assistant Siri. The company announced the change following a report that contractors had listened to recordings that contained sensitive information. Going forward, Apple said it would capture computer-generated scripts of Siri interactions to help with quality control but only record audio of the conversations if users gave their prior consent.

How did the eavesdropping become public? A whistleblower told The Guardian Siri had captured voice recordings of private interactions, including discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, or romantic encounters, when iPhone users accidentally activated the feature. The whistleblower was concerned because Apple didn’t make it clear Siri was recording conversations. Apple only said it used some data to “help Siri and dictation … understand you better and recognize what you say.” Apple fired more than 300 external contractors in Ireland who were involved with the project and said it would only use in-house employees for the work in the future.

Dig deeper: Other tech giants, including Facebook, have come under fire for not revealing that third-party contractors listened to audio clips.

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Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

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  • RC
    Posted: Thu, 08/29/2019 01:22 pm

    So how do you know your cell phone is not listening in on your face to face conversations and passing that information on?  You don’t!  George Orwell was right, big brother is listing to you.

  • Hawkdriver
    Posted: Thu, 08/29/2019 02:24 pm



  • McMed
    Posted: Thu, 08/29/2019 02:29 pm

    I think everyone with a smartphone and social media should assume they are listening to you and tracking what you do. Scary!

  • JennyBeth
    Posted: Thu, 08/29/2019 05:02 pm

    No kidding. My brother and his wife had a conversation in their home in which they wondered if anyone had ever tried bacon stir fry. The next day, their iPhones were showing them popups about bacon stir fry. Of course, if you think about it, for Siri or Cortana or Alexa or the Google assistant to work, they HAVE to be listening all the time.

  •  nevertheless's picture
    Posted: Fri, 08/30/2019 08:23 am

    But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6

    Now, Ive been in the habit of telling the Father things that no other living soul has ever heard. If your IPhone is siting next to you, brothers and sisters, can this be the secret place place Jesus had in mind?