Apple has suspended its Siri grading program following a Guardian report last week which revealed that third-party contractors working on Siri regularly hear confidential user information and could pin point their location.
The company has issued a statement to TechCrunch saying that it is committed to enhancing the overall experience of using Siri and protecting user privacy.
“We are committed to delivering a great Siri experience while protecting user privacy,” Apple said in a statement to TechCrunch. “While we conduct a thorough review, we are suspending Siri grading globally. Additionally, as part of a future software update, users will have the ability to choose to participate in grading.”
Apple will now be thoroughly reviewing its grading process. It will also offer users an option to opt in/out of this program via a future software update.
As a part of the Siri grading program, third-party contractors listen to user recordings. In many cases, due to false trigger especially from the Apple Watch and HomePod, these contractors ended up listening to private conversations of users which revealed their medical information, drug dealings, and more.
While Google and Amazon also employ third-party contractors to work on their voice assistants which involves listening to user recordings, they offer users an option to opt out of their recordings being used for grading purposes. Despite its focus on user privacy, Apple does not offer any such option for Siri.
It seems to have become a theme with Apple where it is first caught doing something which it should not do. Then the company apologises about it and proceeds to roll out a software update to fix the issue.