Apple licensed 300 employees to spy on users via Siri on the iPhone: people were heard and recorded, unbeknownst to them, even in intimate moments.
Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, spied on users with iPhones and iPads and recorded their conversations (even when they were in intimate attitudes). A case that is making a lot of discussion and brought to light by an investigation by The Guardian and subsequently confirmed by Cupertino, which has fired the 300 employees assigned to this practice. Privacy not secure on iPhone? A long shadow comes to cover what until now had been a real Apple flag.
The discovery of Siri and the recording made without the users’ knowledge arrives the day after the presentation of the new iPhone 11. Apple’s voice assistant has been present on iPhone and other Apple devices for several years but it is the first time that this feature is involved in this type of case. Recently it was Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, who presented a similar problem.
Siri spies on you: Apple dismisses 300 employees
The investigation conducted by The Guardian revealed that several contractors, who collaborate and work on the Siri platform, would regularly listen to users’ conversations via the voice assistant.
The information that employees would have access to is varied: from the medical information reserved for the sale of drugs to the intimate attitudes of couples completely unaware of being spied on by Siri.
A largely boundless level of confidentiality, with the ultimate goal of exploiting recordings to improve the response and experience of Siri’s voice assistant. Everything emerged thanks to an employee who revealed the whole affair to the British newspaper, alarmed by Apple’s lack of transparency with users: “Apple does not explicitly mention in its documentation regarding privacy to the consumer, but a small portion of recordings that take place with Siri is passed to clients who work for different companies around the world”.
Apple responded by pointing out that only 1% of these recordings, lasting a few seconds according to Cupertino, is actually applied for this type of purpose useful for improving Siri’s artificial intelligence.
However, Apple apologized to users “As a result of our review we realized that we were not entirely up to our high ideals, and we apologize for these.” The closure of the program would take place as early as the first days of August: Apple also fired more than 300 people who dealt with this practice.
How to disable Siri
Siri can be safely deactivated by proceeding through the settings.
Through the dedicated voice inside these it is in fact possible to deactivate some functions of the Apple voice assistant, moving the various levers indicating some specific skills such as activation using the side key, the voice command Hey Siri and the use of Siri when the phone is locked.