Anonymized Siri Voice Clips Stored by Apple for Up to Two Years

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Yesterday, Wired reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was raising questions about Apple's privacy policies regarding Siri, citing vague statements indicating that older "disassociated" voice clips would be kept for a "period of time" even if a user deactivated Siri on his or her device.
    The report noted that privacy concerns have led to instances where companies such as IBM have banned the use of Siri.

    In a follow-up report today, Wired shares official word from Apple that such data is stored in anonymized form for two years and reveals general details on how that data is anonymized.
    Ozer suggests that Apple should go further in publicizing these privacy policies, linking them directly from Apple's Siri FAQ page, and that users should always be mindful of what they are saying to Siri because "Siri works for Apple".

    Article Link: Anonymized Siri Voice Clips Stored by Apple for Up to Two Years
  2. macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    So what?

    Is there any value, privacy-wise, to "honey, I will be late"?
  3. Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    My only question is why especially since its anonymized - what benefit is there to Apple?
  4. macrumors 6502

    Oct 1, 2012
    Wow they must get a ton of "what is the weather today"
  5. macrumors regular

    Jun 26, 2012
  6. macrumors Pentium

    Jun 22, 2009
    the only thing is - even anonymized - there's personal information within the actual voice/text

    For one - recordings can be voice printed
    Second - lots of requests have to do with setting up meetings, making calls, dictating emails, etc.

    I'm not saying Apple is doing anything evil or wrong. But the idea that the data can't be linked to someone is a bit off mark (to me)
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2011
    South Carolina
    Glad I've never used, nor will ever use, Siri.
  8. macrumors 6502


    Oct 19, 2005
    It'd be interesting to see how many "Siri, where's the best place to hide a body?" questions there are stored up.
  9. macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2006
    Oh no! Recordings of me asking siri to set a dentist appointment for next week! :rolleyes:
  10. macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2007
    I assumed the long-term storage was just because it sometimes takes Siri that long to process a request.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 24, 2010
    Still don't understand why people would be concerned to use Siri, if your Apple ID or email or name or anything isn't stored in relation to your voice requests. It's anonymous as far as the server is concerned. There's no reason to worry about it.

    I'll continue to use it, anyways. :p
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2007
    I can't believe people willingly purchase a product that includes an optional service that collects and transmits your personal data. Your data is your life. Take steps to protect yourself! Don't let Google do this! They're clearly, objectively, irredeemably evil.
  13. macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
  14. macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2013
    Wish there was a place I could hear these random recordings. Might be a few good laughs in there.
  15. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 21, 2009
    I don't see much harm if they are in fact doing what they said. It is also extremely likely Samsung and Google are doing similar with their respective services. The value in having these files, even disassociated, is that you start analyzing trends in usage as well as commands/requests made. It can guide a company on where to improve their product, add new features, or highlight uses people don't seem to be using.

    I'm definitely someone who values privacy, and I also have worked in software for 20 years and know exactly how customer data is usually handled on the backend. I really don't have a problem with this. And, honestly, I have no problem with Google's data collection per se. What I dislike is advertising which is their business.
  16. macrumors 603

    Oct 14, 2008
    Google does exactly the same thing. As does any similar system. They have to do it, because speech recognition is based upon detection of statistically significant patterns within the signal. The more data you have, the better accuracy you can get out of the system. My source: had a lengthy discussion about it with a Google Voice Search team member.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2012
    /home @
    Same as with all other kinds of user data collection.
  18. macrumors 68040


    Sep 24, 2010
    or you would be in some serious trouble, right?

  19. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 8, 2007
    Look, what's important about this is that we didn't know about it earlier (or at least I didn't, which makes me think it was not common knowledge). Particularly on this site, Apple tends to get the benefit of the doubt in relation to "evil" companies like Google that we assume are out to take, store, use, and profit from personal data.

    This story tells us that Apple has been headed in that same direction. It's a small step from fully anonymized data to something that sends you targeted advertisements based on your question patterns. From there, who knows?

    And that says nothing of the creepy big-brother implications of tracking our spoken search histories.
  20. macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2008
    Hah, so it's storing my 2 years of obscenities and vulgarities? :p And asking to call someone in my address book? :eek:
  21. macrumors 603


    Aug 23, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    I'd assume the benefit to Apple has to do with analyzing tones and accents to make Siri more responsive.....

    If they truly do "anonymize" (which if Google supposedly does - with much more personal info I might add, why would we not assume Apple would too) who really cares?

    It's not like they have your name and SSN tied to a list of clips of things you've told/asked Siri.

    What a paranoid world we live in. For what its worth, I have all the "send data to Apple" stuff turned on (same with google locations) and so far, I haven't received any visits from reps from either company.
  22. macrumors 68000

    Apr 24, 2006
    It's a huge batch of voice samples to test against for language and syntax recognition improvements. You don't need to know *who* said it for that to be useful.
  23. macrumors 603


    Aug 23, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    We don't assume - we know. It's pretty common knowledge (and common sense) that Google makes their money off of their users' data/info.

    My question would be - so what?
  24. macrumors G4

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    I assume as another dialect and/or way of asking for something to test Siri with. It doesn't need to know who spoke the request, just b able to understand what the user said and what they are requesting.

    Seems to me Apple's storage is rather a tempest in a teapot if it's really anonymized. Think of all the tracking cookies on our machines, or the store "club cards" we use to save .05 on a box of crackers. There is so much data collected about us I hardly see the difference of going to, say Fandango and looking at movie times vs. asking Siri for movie times.
  25. macrumors 68020


    Nov 17, 2012
    Okay, now really... people are scared of the invasion of privacy of Siri. LOOK AT GOOGLE!

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