It’s looking like Siri is one bad apple.
People working for Apple have heard users talking about confidential medical info, buying drugs, and even having sex, according to an article from The Guardian.
How are they hearing this? They’re doing it through Siri!
Contractors hired by Apple are paid to listen to user recordings. Their job is to grade the responses that Siri is giving to determine if it is functioning properly. The problem is that Siri sometimes picks up on something inappropriate, and has been known to wake and record unintentionally.
These contractors are working to improve Siri’s human understanding so that it only wakes when it is supposed to wake up. They’re also working to make sure Siri actually says something of value when you ask it a question.
When you hear about issues like this, the first thing that comes to mind is probably all of the issues with Amazon’s Alexa listening in on users. Unfortunately, Siri is just as guilty as Alexa.
Should I be worried?
This information came from a whistleblower who worked for one of these contracting firms. They chose to remain anonymous but came forward as they thought the lack of disclosure from Apple was so egregious.
In a statement to the Guardian, Apple said that the recordings are not tied to a user’s Apple ID. However, according to the whistleblower, the recordings typically come with location information, contact information, and app data.
What should I do if I have an iPhone?
We’re not going to act like there aren’t also security issues or concerns with Android.
There’s no need to throw your iPhone in the nearest blender. However, you might want to disable Siri from listening in on you. On your iPhone, go to Settings and choose “Siri & Search.” From here, if you tell Siri to stop listening and if you remove the option to “Press Home for Siri,” you’ll get the option to turn it off altogether.
At Apple’s recent WWDC, the company gave users tons of information in a huge privacy push that they are making. It looks like the company really needs to put more effort into how Siri works, and what she listens to without your knowledge.