August 28, 2019

Apple Fires Siri Snoops

Timothy Birdnow

Looks like Apple has finally closed the barn door now that the cow has gotten out.

A little while back there was a hue and cry over the fact that Apple had hired people to listen in to Siri conversations to "test audio control". The snoops overheard all sorts of things that were meant to be private; people indulging in sins of the flesh, criminal plottings, etc.  People were understandably upset about the violation of privacy. One wonders if sensitive information wasn't making it's way to marketers, to creditors, to governments.

At any rate, Apple has decided to end the program, firing the numerous contractors who were involved.

According to the article:
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Apple fired more than 300 contractors in Cork, Ireland, The Guardian reports. The contractors were hired as part of a "grading" program that reviewed audio recorded by Siri. News broke last month that those contractors often heard sensitive information -- like medical info, criminal activity and "sexual encounters." After temporarily suspending the program, Apple has reportedly decided to terminate it.

More contractors throughout Europe may have been let go. As The Guardianreports, many are upset that Apple fired so many people with just one week's notice. Even those who were concerned with the program's ethical implications expressed their frustration.

Why would anyone think this was a good idea?  I don't believe it was ever intended to assist in quality control; it was intended as a way to snoop, for fun and profit. I think governments would have loved access to this information - it would have allowed them to circumvent warrants to wiretap, for instance. And marketers would love getting the inside scoop on potential customers. It was a win/win for everyone except the general public.


Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:38 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Just to comment on a line in the article: "The company may have been able to add the opt-out capability as soon as the next iOS software update, expected in early October." [emphasis added]

Well, today is 8/28/19 and as a matter of information, the latest iOS (12.4.1) hit our devices -- all five of them (2 iPhones and 3 iPads) today. In case anybody cares. . .

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at August 28, 2019 09:33 AM (mAEZo)

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Posted by: Best Online Essay Writing Services at August 29, 2019 12:52 AM (OT4M+)

3 Isn't that a surprise that they didn't get it in THIS update!  And you have to actually hit the opt out rather than being asked to opt in.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at August 29, 2019 06:38 AM (c7rU9)

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