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Apple contractors each listened to 1,000 Siri recordings every day

Apple has some ‘splaining to do.

Recently, major tech companies, from Microsoft to Facebook, have been caught using human contractors to listen to conversations recorded either by their devices or their services. Even Apple – which believes “privacy is a fundamental human right” – has been caught red-handed. According to Irish Examiner, Apple hired its contractors to listen to roughly 1,000 Siri recordings every day, each.

Siri can send recordings of your requests to Apple so that Apple can improve the assistant. The Guardian first reported Apple hired contractors to listen to Siri users. They sometimes heard personal information, like medical details, drug deals, and sex. Now, an Apple contractor is confirming to Irish Examiner that the recordings “occasionally” had “personal data or snippets of conversations”.

Microsoft also hired contractors to transcribe recordings of its assistant, Cortana. One of the contractors told Motherboard that they transcribed and classified roughly three “tasks” every minute. If that same expectation was applied to Apple’s Siri contractors, we can assume that transcribing 1,000 voice commands means they heard about two recordings per minute over an eight-hour day.

However, Apple has now temporarily stopped using contractors to listen to Siri conversations, and the Irish Examiner noted Apple no longer uses the contracting company, GlobeTech, which employed the contractor it interviewed. Still, this isn’t a good look for pro-privacy Apple.

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