Further Improve Siri’s Privacy Protection Function


At Apple, we view privacy as a fundamental right for everyone. Whether it is Apple’s products or services, protecting users’personal information is the top priority of design, and we have been constantly strengthening and improving the relevant protection measures. For the pioneering intelligent assistant Siri, our goal is to provide users with an excellent experience while strictly protecting their privacy.
We have learned that recent media reports about the manual listening of Siri audio recordings in our Siri quality assessment process (which we call grading) have aroused widespread concern among users. We learned of their concerns, immediately suspended the manual grading of Siri’s request, and began a comprehensive review of our practices and policies. So we decided to make some changes to Siri.
How Siri protects your privacy
Siri was designed to protect user privacy. We are committed to doing as much on the device as possible and will minimize the amount of data collected through Siri. When we store Siri data on servers, we don’t use it to build marketing profiles, nor will we sell it to anyone. Our use of Siri data is limited to improving Siri, and we are constantly developing technologies to improve the privacy of Siri.
Siri strives to provide accurate results with minimal data. For example, when you ask questions about a sporting event, Siri will use your approximate position to provide the right results. When you ask the nearest grocery store, it will use more specific location data.
If you ask Siri to read your unread information, Siri will only instruct your device to read the unread information aloud. Your information content will not be transmitted to Siri’s server because it is completely unnecessary to complete your request.
When processing data, Siri uses a random identifier, a long string of letters and numbers associated with a single device, to track the data, rather than linking it to your identity through your Apple ID or phone number. We believe that the process we use is unique among today’s digital assistants. In order to further protect your privacy, after six months, the device data will be decorrelated from the random identifier.
In “Settings” for iOS devices, “Siri and Search” and “Asking Siri and Privacy”, we provide detailed information about Siri data access and how we can protect user information in the process.
How Siri Can Use Your Data Better
To accomplish personalized tasks more accurately, Siri collects and stores specific information on your device. For example, when Siri encounters an unusual name, it may use the name in your address book to ensure that the name is correctly identified.
Siri also uses the data you generate when you interact with it. This includes the audio you requested and the computer-generated text record of the audio. Apple sometimes uses user-requested audio recordings and text recordings in machine learning processes to “train” and improve Siri.
Before we suspend the grading plan, our process includes evaluating a small portion of the audio samples requested by Siri (about 0.2%) and computer-generated text records to measure Siri’s response and improve its reliability. For example, do users want to wake up Siri? Did Siri hear user requests accurately? Does Siri respond appropriately to user requests?
The changes we will make
Based on the results of the assessment, we realize that we have not yet achieved the desired results, and we apologize for that. As announced earlier, we called off the Siri grading program. We plan to release software updates to users later this autumn, and then restart the program. Before that, we will make the following changes:
First, by default, we will no longer retain Siri interactive audio recordings. We will continue to use computer-generated text records to help improve Siri.
Secondly, users can choose audio samples that allow us to be informed of requests to help Siri achieve improvements. We believe that many people will choose to help Siri do better because they know that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy protection measures. Those who choose to participate can also exit at any time.
Finally, when users choose to join, only Apple employees are allowed to listen to Siri interactive audio samples. Our team will try to delete any recordings that are believed to have inadvertently triggered Siri.
Everything Apple does is user-oriented, which includes protecting users’privacy and security. The original intention of Siri is to help users handle all kinds of affairs more conveniently and easily without compromising their privacy. We sincerely thank the users for their infinite enthusiasm and support for Siri. It is with your help that we can keep moving forward.