Siri always could record spoken words around it. It performs this task via buffers that become activated when it hears, “Hey, Siri.” It also does not send all voice recordings to third parties such as Apple or the government provided you do not access the trigger.
According to the Guardian, an Apple whistleblower revealed that a listening device helped contractors to get access to private information. These details include its users’ medical records, personal conversations, and sexual acts.
How Siri Collects Information for Third Parties
Details from the media startup, 71Republic shows that Siri sends small parts of its recordings across the globe to run quality tests. However, it performs these tasks randomly.
One of the products which can easily be activated to send private details is the Apple watch. Such ease is possible because users have to raise wearable to their mouth after activating the “raise to speak” function. Furthermore, this feature results in accidental triggers which do not require human speech. For instance, the source said Siri hears “a zip…as a trigger.”
When asked about the kind of conversations Siri has access to, the whistleblower said, “There have been countless instances of recordings featuring private discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, seemingly criminal dealings, sexual encounters and so on. These recordings are accompanied by user data showing location, contact details, and app data.”
Is This an Infringement on the Privacy Rights of the Consumer?
The Apple policy does maintain the privacy of its users, especially Apple Watch consumers. For instance6, the company knows your actions and also who you are with (if they have Siri and location features on their devices). Although these actions might be uncomfortable, consumers (consciously or unconsciously) agree to the terms by using Apple devices. The tech firm also uses contractor reports of false triggers for quality control instead of privacy.
Another controversy stems from the quality of individuals that work as Apple contractors. According to the anonymous whistleblower,” “there’s not much vetting of who works there.” This fact raises concerns about people having unauthorized access to user information which they might use to commit criminal acts or unlawful arrests.
If you want to prevent any violations to your privacy, 71Republic recommends that you take off the Apple smartwatch. Although it is not a perfect remedy, the absence of the watch on your wrist prevents the activation of false Siri triggers. The contractor also pointed out that the Apple HomePod speaker was another device that sent details of your conversations to third parties. These “snippets that will be 30 seconds” offer a sufficient time window when unauthorized individuals can steal the information they need.