• Today
    December 16

  • 08:50 AM

Apple to stop keeping Siri recordings

REUTERS,

Added 30 August 2019

apple

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China on July 30, 2017. (Reuters)

CUPERTINO – Apple Inc. said it would quit its default practice of retaining audio recordings of the requests users make to its Siri personal assistant and limit human review of what audio it does collect to its own employees rather than contractors.

The changes come after Apple earlier this month paused a programme called Siri grading in which humans listened to audio recordings of users to determine whether the assistant had responded appropriately to requests to do things like read unread messages or upcoming calendar appointments.

Apple put the programme on hold after the Guardian newspaper reported that contractors working on Apple’s behalf regularly heard confidential information, drug deals and couples having sex.

Increased public and political scrutiny of data privacy practices have forced greater transparency from Silicon Valley companies, with Alphabet Inc.’s Google pausing reviews of audio recordings from its Google assistant service for all purposes in all languages after a leak of Dutch audio data.

Apple has promoted its privacy practices in an effort to distance itself from its rivals and has taken steps since Siri’s introduction in 2011 to limit data collection. Audio recordings are deleted after a set period of time, users were identified by a random number, and data such as a user’s unread messages or calendar appointments were not sent to Apple’s servers.

But Apple tapped humans to improve the service, a process that the company's researchers have in the past told Reuters can cut speech recognition error rates in half. Apple says the number of audio recordings reviewed was small – less than 0.2 per cent of total requests – but users had no way to opt out of having audio retained and reviewed by humans except turning Siri off altogether.

Apple on Wednesday said that it will quit keeping audio for human review and instead let users opt in to having their audio reviewed if they choose. The company said it would still use computer-generated transcripts to improve Siri.

Apple also said that it would let only employees review the audio and that it “will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri”.

Apple said the pause on the programme would remain in place until the changes were carried out but did not give a date. (Reuters)

 

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Are you being cautious with your Christmas spending in 2019?

Yes
No

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM