Contractors Listened to 1,000 Siri Recordings Every Shift as Part of Grading Program

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Earlier this month, it was revealed that as a part of Siri grading process, many third-party contractors employed by Apple used to listen to personal Siri recordings of users. This led to quite a bit of backlash especially since Apple heavily uses privacy in its marketing campaigns. Eventually, Apple suspended the grading programThe Irish Examiner spoke to some contractors who worked on grading Siri which has revealed more details about the entire process.

These contractors in Cork used to listen to more than 1,000 recordings from Siri every shift. They would then grade these recordings across a bunch of categories including if Siri was accidentally triggered, the complexity of the query asked, and more.

As per the contractor, details of the user were kept anonymous. The team primarily used to listen to Siri recordings of users with Canadia, Australian, or UK accents. A smaller team worked on users who spoke European languages.

Contractors working for Globetech regularly listened to more than 1,000 recordings from Siri each shift, according to the former employee: “They {the recordings} were about a few seconds long, occasionally we would hear personal data or snippets of conversations but mostly it would be Siri commands.”

Siri recordings from a small number of Irish users were also listened to, the employee added: “I understood the reasons why the company was doing it but I could see why people would feel it was a breach of privacy because they weren’t telling people. I think the lack of consent was the issue.

It is estimated that Apple suspending the grading program has led to about 300 contractors working for Globetech in Cork from being let go of their job. As a goodwill gesture, the company will be paying an additional week of salary to its contractors who have been let go. After the original report came out, there was a clampdown at Globetech’s office which prevented employees from carrying their personal phone while at work.

Apple also issued a statement saying it is working closely with its contractors as it reviews its Siri grading process.

A spokesperson for Apple said: “We believe that everyone should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve — this includes our own employees and the suppliers we work with in Ireland and around the world. Apple is committed to customer privacy and made the decision to suspend Siri grading while we conduct a thorough review of our processes. We’re working closely with our partners as we do this to ensure the best possible outcome for our suppliers, their employees and our customers around the world.”

[Via Irish Examiner]