- Photo courtesy of Apple
iPhone users need to watch what they say to Siri as Apple stores these voices clips created from their interaction with the system for up to two years.
This issue sparked the interest of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who raised questions about Apple's privacy policies regarding Siri. The organization cited vague statements indicating that older "disassociated" voice clips would be store by Apple even after a user has deactivated the service on their iOS device.
"It's not clear what 'dissociated' means. It's not clear what 'period of time' means. It's not clear what using it to 'generally improve Siri and other Apple products and services' means," said Nicole Ozer, a lawyer with the ACLU. "The only thing that's clear is we really don't know what may be happening to the personal information we have told Siri, even after we turn Siri off."
Due to privacy concerns, IBM decided to ban the use of Siri. However, a follow up report from Wired features Apple assuring users that most of their audio clips have been "anonymized"- a word that eases concerns of some.
Apple apparently records each command issued to the voice assistant. The commands are shipped off to Apple's data farm, where they are held for analysis. The company claims to generate random numbers to represent the user who spoke the commands. This number is issued six months after the clip is collected, "disassociating" the user from the actual recording. The clips are then kept for an additional 18 months for texting and product improvement purposes.
Although Siri aids the user throughout their daily routine, it does raise some significant privacy issues. Ozer urges people to use it with caution.