This has been stated Thomas Le Bonniec in a letter to the EU data protection authorities. It was he who 9 months ago, and anonymously, uncovered the case of you listen by Apple’s voice assistant, since he was one of the workers in charge of listening to the audios in English and French.
Apple workers keep listening to your interactions with Siri
These audios are key to improve the sound detection of voice assistants, where it is the workers themselves who help improve the neural network system. When Siri hears something she doesn’t understand and the voice dictation doesn’t work well, she sends the audio to the workers so they can help them understand it.
Le Bonniec states that in his two-month stint at the company Globe Technical Services, was able to attend the massive violation of the privacy of millions of people, which goes against a company that is one of the companies that most respects the privacy of users. When everything was uncovered, Apple said it was going to review its policies and practices, and that it apologized for not having “met its high standards.” However, Bonniec claims that nothing has changed, as several sources have informed him.
Big tech companies can listen to any user wherever they want, where everyone who uses a voice assistant is exposed to having their conversations heard by these companies and by workers reviewing the recordings.
Le Bonniec wants authorities to take action on the matter
Le Bonniec listened to hundreds of recordings a day from all kinds of Apple devices (iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad). Many of these recordings were made without voluntary Siri activation by the user, but by mistake. In those recordings there were all kinds of data, including names, addresses, private conversations, etc. He claims he heard people talk about things like cancer, religion, sexuality, pornography, politics, relationships, or drugs.
The option to opt out of this listening program was added last year, but the listening process remains exactly the same. The Data Protection Commission from Ireland stated that it would identify whether it was necessary for companies to make changes regarding data protection by the way they used voice-assist technology. However, they have not done anything yet.
Le Bonniec indicates that he believes that the matter is not being taken seriously and that he hopes that this letter will reveal the seriousness of the problem and that the data protection authorities carry out the appropriate investigations so that changes are implemented.