Apple apologizes to its employees for listening to Siri recordings: no longer retaining Siri interactive recordings


[Abstract] Apple said that by default, it would “no longer retain Siri interactive recordings”, but would still use “computer generated text to help improve Siri”.
According to foreign media reports, Apple apologized Wednesday for its “Siri Scoring Plan” and said it would make some adjustments to allow users to choose whether to participate in the Scoring Plan.
Earlier this month, it was reported that some Siri voice auditors had heard personal medical details, drug transactions and other information. Since then, Apple’s project has been called off. However, most of Apple’s Siri processing is done on devices, rather than sending it to the cloud like Amazon and Google did. Nevertheless, users still have no way to know whether they belong to the unfortunate minority – the questions they ask Siri are heard by Apple employees. Apple also doesn’t allow you to review the questions you ask Siri, a feature that both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant offer.
Apple has just said in a statement on its website that by default it will “no longer retain Siri interactive recordings”, but will still use “computer generated text to help improve Siri”. Users will be able to choose whether to join the scoring plan to help Apple improve Siri, and those who do will be able to opt out when they want.
Apple also said that only its employees, not external contractors, were allowed to listen to audio samples of Siri interaction, and that the team would “delete voice records identified as inadvertently triggering Siri”.
The following is the full text of Apple’s statement:
At Apple, we believe that privacy is a fundamental human right. We design our products to protect users’personal data, and we have been working to strengthen this protection. So is our service. Siri is a pioneering smart voice assistant. Our goal is to provide our customers with the best experience while protecting their privacy vigilantly.
We know that users have been following recent reports about Apple employees listening to Siri recordings as part of our Siri quality assessment process, which we call scoring plans. We heard their concerns, immediately suspended the manual grading of Siri recordings and began a thorough review of our practices and policies. So we decided to make some adjustments to Siri.
How Siri protects your privacy
Siri was designed to protect users’privacy from the outset. We focus on doing as much as possible on the device and minimizing the amount of data Siri collects. When we store Siri data on our servers, we don’t use it to build marketing profiles, and we never sell it to anyone. We use Siri data only to improve Siri, and we are constantly developing technologies to make Siri more privacy-conscious.
Siri uses as little data as possible to provide accurate results. For example, when you ask a question about a sporting event, Siri uses your general location information to provide the right results. But if you ask the nearest grocery store, it will use more specific location data.
If you let Siri read your unread messages, Siri will only let your device read your unread messages aloud. Your message content will not be transmitted to the Siri server because it is not necessary to satisfy your instructions.
In data processing, Siri uses a random identifier — a long string of letters and numbers associated with a single device — to track your data, rather than binding your data to your identity through your Apple ID or cell phone number — which we consider unique among today’s digital voice assistants. . In order to further enhance protection, after six months, the data of the device will be separated from the random identifier.
In iOS, we provide detailed information about Siri access to data in “Settings”, “Siri and Search”, “Asking Siri and Privacy” and how we can protect your information in the process.
How Your Data Makes Siri Better
In order for Siri to perform personalized tasks more accurately, it will collect and store certain information from your device. For example, when Siri encounters an unusual name, it may use the name in your contact list to ensure that it recognizes the name correctly.
Siri also depends on the data you interact with. This includes your voice instructions and computer-generated transcripts. In machine learning, Apple sometimes uses voice commands and transcripts to “train” Siri to further improve its functionality.
Before we suspend the scoring plan, our process involves reviewing a small portion of the audio samples (less than 0.2%) of Siri recordings and their computer-generated text to measure Siri’s response and improve its reliability. For example, does the user intend to wake up Siri? Did Siri hear the user’s instructions accurately? Does Siri respond appropriately to this instruction?
The improvements we are making
In the course of the review, we realized that we had not fully realized our lofty ideals, and we apologize for that. As we announced earlier, we stopped the Siri scoring program. We plan to resume later this autumn when we release software updates to users — but only after the following adjustments are made:
First, by default, we will no longer retain Siri interactive recording. We will continue to use computer-generated text to help improve Siri.
Secondly, users will be able to choose whether to join the scoring plan, allowing Apple to help improve Siri by studying their voice instructions. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri become better because they know that Apple will respect their personal data and that Apple has adopted strong privacy controls. Those who choose to participate can opt out at any time.

Third, when users choose to join the program, only Apple employees are allowed to listen to Siri interactive audio samples. Our team will try to delete any voice records that are identified as inadvertently triggering Siri.
Apple is committed to putting users at the center of everything we do, including protecting their privacy. We created Siri to help them complete their work faster and more easily without compromising their privacy. We thank our users for their enthusiasm for Siri and for pushing us to improve. (Tencent Technology Revision/Music Science)