Voice assistants: Apple suspends listening to recordings

The US group Apple announced Friday that it was suspending the analysis by employees or contractors of conversation of users registered by his voice assistant Siri.
Most companies in the industry use such practices to improve the quality of the response.

“We suspend the program for Siri worldwide, the time to re-examine it in depth,” the group said in a statement. “In addition, in the future software update, users will have the opportunity to participate or not, to improve the service.”

Like its competitors Amazon, Google or Microsoft, Apple has employees analyze certain records captured by Siri to ensure that the software interpreted the requests correctly, a practice that concerns less than 1% of requests, says Apple.

Apple’s decision follows an article in the British daily newspaper The Guardian, based on the testimony of subcontractors explaining that they found themselves listening to recordings made in error and holding personal or even intimate items.

The group based in Cupertino (California) is not the only one blamed for its practices: Thursday, a German local authority has obtained that Google suspends the same type of practice throughout the European Union.

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority has announced that Google has promised that “transcriptions of voice recordings will no longer be used for a period of at least three months from 1 August 2019 “, in all European countries.

This authority also believes that assistants in general, be they marketed by Google, Amazon or Apple are “a high risk for privacy and the protection of privacy of those concerned.”

In July, the Belgian media VRT revealed that it had been able to listen to more than a thousand recordings from devices in Belgium or the Netherlands, 153 of which were accidentally received.

Among these, users discuss their love life or their children, and providing personal information such as their address.

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