Following Apple's decision last week to suspend a Siri program that allows employees to listen to audio recordings for quality control purposes, Amazon and Google have both chosen to make their policies on human reviews of voice assistant audio more clear.

siri alexa cortana google assistant e1565005866988
Late last month, Apple confirmed that a small number of anonymized ‌Siri‌ requests are analyzed for the purpose of improving ‌Siri‌, after a Guardian report revealed that contractors regularly hear private conversations recorded by Apple's voice assistant.

To allay privacy concerns, Apple said it was temporarily stopping the program while it reviewed the process that's currently used. It also said it plans to release a software update that will let ‌Siri‌ users opt out.

On Friday, Google said it had also suspended its policy of reviewing Google Assistant audio. The company actually suspended the practice across the EU on July 10 when a German privacy regulator started investigating it following a Belgian media report, but this is the first time Google has confirmed the fact publicly.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon will let Alexa users opt out of human review of their voice recordings. The new policy took effect Friday, and adds an option in the settings menu of the Alexa mobile app for removing recordings from analysis by Amazon employees.

All of the tech companies employ staff to review a small subset of voice recordings while claiming to anonymize the source. For example, Google distorts the recording before it is listened to, so as to disguise the user's voice, while Apple strips them of identifiable information and assigns each one a random device identifier.

However, Bloomberg revealed that some of Amazon's audio reviewers had access to the home addresses of Amazon customers, before the company moved to restrict the level of access. Many members of the public were unaware the practice even existed until Bloomberg reported on it earlier this year.

Tags: Google, Amazon

Top Rated Comments

Mikey44 Avatar
28 months ago
Where’s Microsoft on this? Reporters should go ask them if they have human reviewers.

Is Cortana left unchecked?
This comment is under the assumption that anyone uses Cortana.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wiesenlooser Avatar
28 months ago
I really wonder whether they don’t think this through. Surely they must know people would find this creepy, right? Otherwise - what is wrong with them?

Second option is that they bank on people not finding it out. That to me is the definition of evil. Knowing you do something wrong but hoping you don’t get caught.

Either way - this demonstrates something is really wrong at Silicon Valley culturally. Yes - people want their devices to become better. But not at any cost.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jyby Avatar
28 months ago
Science Rules!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shpankey Avatar
28 months ago
Makes me want to get rid of these devices altogether. Not just bc they do it but mostly bc they hid it and didn't own up to it until after. What else are they doing... I wonder.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thebeans Avatar
28 months ago
I really wonder whether they don’t think this through. Surely they must know people would find this creepy, right? Otherwise - what is wrong with them?

Second option is that they bank on people not finding it out. That to me is the definition of evil. Knowing you do something wrong but hoping you don’t get caught.

Either way - this demonstrates something is really wrong at Silicon Valley culturally. Yes - people want their devices to become better. But not at any cost.
Not sure about google but Apple said a long time back that there was human review of some Siri requests so they could improve accuracy. I don’t find it creepy at all. I’m pretty sure it is anonymous data anyway. The person reviewing doesn’t know that John Jones asked Siri for directions to the nearest brothel. They just know that someone somewhere asked for directions to the nearest brothel and Siri probably responded with the weather or something. Lol.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jyby Avatar
28 months ago
Science Rules!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1x mac mini screen feature

High-End 'M1X' Mac Mini With New Design and Additional Ports Expected to Launch in the 'Next Several Months'

Sunday August 22, 2021 5:59 am PDT by
Apple can be expected to launch an updated high-end Mac mini with a new design and a faster "M1X" Apple silicon processor in the "next several months," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. In the latest publication of his Power On newsletter, Gurman writes that a new high-end Mac mini, which has previously been reported to feature a new design with additional ports, can be expected to replace...
mac scanner permission error

Apple Says Fix Planned for 'You Do Not Have Permission to Open the Application' Error When Using a Scanner on Mac

Saturday August 14, 2021 6:15 am PDT by
In a newly published support document on its website, Apple has acknowledged an error that some users may receive when they try to use a scanner with a Mac in the Image Capture app, Preview app, or the Printers & Scanners section of System Preferences. A screenshot of the error message from the HP Support Community When attempting to use a scanner with a Mac, Apple said users might get an...
iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
macbookpro13large

macOS Big Sur Update Bricking Some Older MacBook Pro Models

Sunday November 15, 2020 5:33 am PST by
A large number of late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are reporting that the macOS Big Sur update is bricking their machines. A MacRumors forum thread contains a significant number of users reporting the issue, and similar problems are being reported across Reddit and the Apple Support Communities, suggesting the problem is widespread. Users are reporting that during the...
m1 imac orange

New iMac Tidbits: Headphone Jack on Side, Ethernet Port on Power Adapter, Spatial Audio and WiFi 6 Support, No SD Card Slot

Wednesday April 21, 2021 6:38 am PDT by
Apple yesterday announced a completely redesigned 24-inch iMac with the M1 Apple silicon chip. The new iMac, the first major redesign of the Mac desktop computer since 2012, has several changes compared to the previous generation. In the aftermath of the event, a few new features and tidbits may have slipped under the radar, so we’ve compiled this list of some of the less-talked-about...
General YouTube Feature 1

YouTube Premium and Music Surpass 50 Million Subscribers

Friday September 3, 2021 2:19 am PDT by
YouTube says it has passed 50 million subscribers for its Premium and Music subscriptions, making it the "fastest growing music subscription" service in the world, according to YouTube's global head of music, Lyor Cohen. YouTube says that it has more than 50 million paying subscribers collectively across YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. The Google-owned service says it attributes this...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
omg lightning cable comparison

Security Researcher Develops Lightning Cable With Hidden Chip to Steal Passwords

Thursday September 2, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
A normal-looking Lightning cable that can used to steal data like passwords and send it to a hacker has been developed, Vice reports. The "OMG Cable" compared to Apple's Lightning to USB cable. The "OMG Cable" works exactly like a normal Lightning to USB cable and can log keystrokes from connected Mac keyboards, iPads, and iPhones, and then send this data to a bad actor who could be over a...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...