Yesterday all the alarms went off because of an article in El País suggesting that Siri was spying on us. All this following a recent piece of news that claimed the same as other companies such as Google or Amazon through their intelligent speakers. However, following Siri’s own mechanism, we discovered that is not really spying as such but rather listening that, at least on paper, would serve to improve Apple’s assistant
An intelligent assistant like Siri must come prepared from home, that is, she must have a series of previously established ranges that allow the assistant to function. However, artificial intelligence is also based on the learning that it makes of us and therefore it is important that somehow it records our use to improve it .
Siri listening is always activated so that when you say the famous “hear Siri” the wizard starts automatically without the need to press any buttons. However these continuous recordings are not registered on any company server . You could say that this works in a similar way to many security cameras because the recordings are automatically deleted and of course nobody hears us talking when we are not using Siri.
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Once Siri has been activated, there is a process in which encrypts our conversation with the wizard in order to send these to Apple with the aim of improving the user experience. We insist that these are anonymous and that they are done through some random algorithms so that the recipients do not know who we are and there is no possibility of a third party accessing these recordings.
However, the systems are prepared enough to differentiate what kind of conversations you can send to Apple . When our conversation with Siri involves confidential topics such as reading notifications, in which a WhatsApp message can be included for example, the system does not record these readings.
With regard to the exact recipients of the messages, it must be said that they are Apple subcontractors , which are protected by confidentiality agreements. Their job, as we have explained, is to try to improve Siri by checking things such as the commands most used by users or if it is used in very noisy situations and try to improve that audio reception.
In short we can rest assured that since Cupertino we have always stressed the importance of privacy and security for users who use an iPhone, an iPad or any of the devices on the block. However, if you want to deactivate any kind of listening, even if it’s for the improvement of the system, you can do it from Settings>Siri and search .