The company will no longer participate in what it calls "grading," or having workers listen to audio recordings of a small percentage of users' interactions with Siri in order to improve its performance. The company is making the changes following a review of its privacy policies after The Guardian reported in late July that contractors hired by Apple had heard sensitive personal user details when reviewing recordings.
In a statement published on Wednesday, Apple announced three changes: Apple will no longer automatically retain audio recordings of Siri interactions, although Apple will continue to use computer-generated transcripts of conversation; users will now be asked to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from audio samples; and only Apple employees will be able to listen to audio samples when a user does opt in.
"At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right. We design our products to protect users' personal data, and we are constantly working to strengthen those protections," Apple said in a statement Wednesday.
Apple's announcement meshes with a report from the Guardian on Wednesday saying that Apple laid off 300 employees across Europe who were employed to listen to Siri recordings for errors. The staff had been on paid leave since August 2 when Apple decided to suspend the program in order to review it.
Apple shares were rising 0.55% to $205.32 Wednesday.
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