siri won't record conversations
Image: Flickr, via Erwan Bozec

We recently found out that Apple is among the tech companies that employ people to listen to our Siri recordings. While Apple acknowledged its doings, we knew it wasn’t enough. Trying to make us believe it cares for our privacy, Apple has now issued an official apology with improvements to Siri.

Apple, via an official blog post, said, “As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that, we apologize.”

Along with an apology, Apple has suggested that it is bringing a couple of privacy changes to its virtual assistant Siri so that it doesn’t eavesdrop on us again.

How will Siri’s privacy improve?

Apple has officially announced that Siri will “no longer retain” recordings of users’ conversations, and it will be a default setting. To improve Siri, Apple will use computerized transcripts instead of real ones, which makes me feel like someone has finally heard my call.

While it won’t keep a record of the conversations, Apple provides users with an option to let Siri keep their recordings willingly. After opting in, users can easily opt-out if they wish to. 

Lastly, if users opt-in, their recordings will only be heard by Apple employees, meaning Apple won’t hire third-party contractors to do the job.

For those who have forgotten, it was known that Apple contractors listen to users’ Siri recordings, including conversations about sex, confidential medical information, drug deals, and more. 

Contractors listened to Siri recordings to enhance Siri’s work and make sure it does its job better.

Is Siri concerned about our privacy?

Apple says that Siri has been engineered to keep the privacy of the user in mind. Although it is used to record a user’s conversation, Apple doesn’t try to use it as a marketing tool and doesn’t trade it with anyone.

Siri uses some portion of data to ensure it improves its accuracy. It just tries to interpret things better without sending the data to Siri’s servers. 

As part of Siri’s working, the virtual assistant uses a random identifier (a long string of letters and numbers) to maintain users’ data and doesn’t use anyone’s Apple ID or phone number, for user privacy. Furthermore, it unlinks a user’s device from the identifier for further security.

My Take

Like other tech companies, Apple has accepted its wrongdoing and is trying to set things straight. Apple has made things transparent and is trying to do something that every tech company should be doing. It’s safe to say Apple can maintain its stance as a privacy-focused company.

While we can’t entirely rely on it, we can hope the virtual assistant adheres to its promise and doesn’t spy on us again!

Also Read: Amazon Confirms: Alexa Keeps Your Voice Recordings Forever