Apple no longer wiretaps users in the name of quality

Apple no longer lets people listen in with voice commands to Siri. The technology company let hired workers listen in to improve conversations between people and the speech-driven program, but this is coming to an end after serious privacy concerns.

A whistleblower revealed the practice in the British newspaper The Guardian. Employees listened to conversations between Siri and users and then gave the assistant a mark. In addition, sometimes very intimate audio fragments were discussed, because the assistant for the iPhone or Apple Watch, for example, is sometimes started up unintentionally. Employees would therefore have listened to conversations between doctor and patient, sex or even drug deals.

Apple said in a statement that it “thoroughly investigates” the issues. In the future, the group wants users of the operating system iOS to choose whether their conversations can be listened to and assessed.

Yesterday, Google indicated that it will no longer allow its employees to listen to conversations that people have with their smart devices. They did that just like Apple to improve the software so that the devices would better understand how people talk.

The smart help of Google is called the Assistant. This is among other things in the Home speaker. Users can give an instruction to the Assistant with their vote. They can set an alarm clock, call someone or ask what the weather is like. The Assistant is a counterpart to, for example, Alexa from Amazon and Siri from Apple.

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