Apple Makes Changes to Siri Data Collection

Posted on August 28, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS, Mobile, Smart Home with 16 Comments

Responding to the recent uproar over contractors listening to conversations that users have with Siri, Apple is making changes.

“We know that customers have been concerned by recent reports of people listening to audio Siri recordings as part of our Siri quality evaluation process — which we call grading,” an Apple statement explains. “We heard their concerns, immediately suspended human grading of Siri requests and began a thorough review of our practices and policies. We’ve decided to make some changes to Siri as a result.”

Apple may have halted its Siri grading program in response to complaints. But it will start up the program “later this fall” after it’s made the following changes:

  • It will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. Instead, Apple will use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.
  • Users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. “We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place,” Apple says. “Those who choose to participate will be able to opt-out at any time.”
  • When customers do opt-in, only Apple employees, and not outside contractors, will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. The team will delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.

In short, Apple is doing for Siri exactly what Microsoft should be doing—but won’t—for Windows 10. Good for them.

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