Last week The Guardian filed a rather concerning report that said Apple allowed some human contractors to secretively listen into Siri recordings from customers. This according to an unnamed whistleblower who worked on this programme, which the firm referred to as “Siri Grading”, and its purpose being to rate the quality of the Siri assistant.
While that may indeed be the case, the whistleblower explained that sensitive information was also listened into, and in some instances involved people during sexual intercourse, as well as other confidential conversations.
Since The Guardian report has surfaced, Apple has now confirmed that it will temporarily suspend the programme.
“We are committed to delivering a great Siri experience while protecting user privacy,” an Apple spokesperson noted in a statement sent to The Verge, “While we conduct a thorough review, we are suspending Siri grading globally. Additionally, as part of a future software update, users will have the ability to choose to participate in grading.”
Despite Apple saying that it would suspend the programme as it looked for more transparency measures for consumers, it did not mention whether the previously captured recordings would remain on the company’s servers, or indeed whether consumers would be contacted to be informed that Apple is in possession of their confidential recordings.
What is perhaps most worrying is the fact that this rather nefarious Siri Grading programme would not have become public knowledge had the whistleblower not come forward. As such Apple would have seen fit to continue with the capture of recordings, which certainly contradicts the more security-focused mantra the firm has been touting of late.
As The Verge points out, Apple has no way of allowing users to opt out of this Grading apart from disabling Siri altogether, whereas Amazon and Google have the capacity to opt out while still making use of the digital assistant.
As such it does not look as of Apple is operating in good faith.