Apple Says Siri Grading Program Will Return This Fall W/ Some Privacy-Focused Changes

In today's Newsroom article, Apple announced that it will restart its Siri quality evaluation process in the fall with a number of privacy-focused changes, and explain how your data make Siri better, as well as how Siri protects your privacy.

Apple asserts that from now on, it will only collect audio recordings from users who choose to opt-in to this grading program, and those participants will be able to opt-out at any time and will delete any irrelevant audio samples. In addition, Apple claims that only its employees will have access to Siri recordings, signaling that the company will no longer hire "contractors."

As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize. As we previously announced, we halted the Siri grading program. We plan to resume later this fall when software updates are released to our users — but only after making the following changes:
  • First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.
  • Second, 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. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time.
  • Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.
On the other side, Apple will continue use computer-generated Siri transcript to improve the assistant's ability to accurately response all sorts of queries, and there is no option to opt-out, although you can just disable Siri entirely to avoid that scenario. Plus, these transcriptions link to an identifier rather than your Apple ID.

Apple has also added a new support document to its website that lists a series of FAQs to address any concerns you might have, for example, "how are Siri’s privacy policies unique among intelligent assistants? "

Image via Macworld

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