After Google’s and Amazon’s incidents, Apple is now in the same situation of ‘secretly sharing with contractors audio recordings of its users’.
“We may collect and store details of how you use our services, including search queries. This information may be used to improve the relevancy of results provided by our services. Except in limited instances to ensure quality of our services over the Internet, such information will not be associated with your IP address.“
Even though they are not associated with an Apple ID, the recordings are a few seconds long and include personal information.
Also, the recordings are paired with other revealing data, like location, app data, and contact details.
Of course, Apple says that this data is collected and analyzed by employees to improve its services and that assures users that all analysis is done in a secure context and the workers are respecting the confidentiality agreements. However, we can’t help but wonder why the company failed to communicate this important aspect until forced by the circumstances.
The company told The Guardian that less than 1% of daily queries are sent. Considering the fact that hundreds of millions of devices use the feature on a regular basis, a fraction of 1% rise quickly to hundreds of thousands.
The 1% fraction of Siri request are apparently randomly chosen, and it includes “countless instances of recordings featuring private discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, seemingly criminal dealings, sexual encounters and so on.”
The issue is that a few of these activations of Siri will have been accidental. Those accidentally recorded queries can be significantly longer and contain a great deal of personal information, however.