Earlier this month, news came out that Apple contractors had been listening in to Siri responses and that they often heard personal incidents. Now Apple has responded.
Apple today announced a few changes to its Siri response grading program. First up, Apple will no longer keep audio recordings of Siri interactions. The company does say that it will continue using computer-generated transcripts of Siri responses to improve its voice assistant, though.
Second, customers will have the option to help improve Siri by opting in to have their audio samples graded. "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," Apple explains. Customers who do opt in to having their audio samples graded can opt out at any time.
Finally, when customers do opt in to having their Siri responses graded, only Apple employees will be able to listen to those interactions. Apple will also to delete any recording in which it's determined that Siri was inadvertently triggered.
Apple halted its Siri response grading program earlier this month when news of contractors listening to recordings first came out. Apple says that it plans to resume later this fall when software updates are released to users, but the aforementioned changes will be included at that time.
These are welcome changes to Apple's Siri response grading program. It's good that customers must now opt-in if their audio recordings are going to be graded rather than forcing them to opt-out if they don't want to be part of that program, and the hope is that by having Apple employees listening to Siri interactions rather than contractors, there will be more accountability and less of a chance that someone will use those recordings for nefarious deeds.