Apple Facing Lawsuit for 'Unlawful and Intentional' Recording of Confidential Siri Requests Without User Consent

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Apple is facing a class action lawsuit [PDF] for employing contractors to listen to and grade some anonymized Siri conversations for the purpose of quality control and product improvement.

    Apple's Siri practices were highlighted in a recent report where one of the contractors claimed that Apple employees evaluating Siri recordings often hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and other private information when Siri is activated accidentally.

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    The lawsuit, filed in a Northern California court today (and shared by CNBC's Kif Leswing), accuses Apple of "unlawful and intentional recording of individuals' confidential communications without their consent," violating California privacy laws when accidental Siri activations are recorded and evaluated by humans.
    As outlined in its privacy policies, Apple collects some anonymized Siri recordings for the purpose of improving Siri and, presumably, cutting down on accidental Siri activations. These recordings are analyzed by humans and can include details recorded when Siri mishears a "Hey Siri" trigger word.

    The lawsuit claims that Apple has not informed consumers that they are "regularly being recorded without consent," though it also highlights Apple's privacy policy where Apple does state that such data can be used for improving its services.

    The plaintiffs in the case, one of whom is a minor, claim to own an iPhone XR and an iPhone 6 that they would not have purchased had they known that their Siri recordings were stored for evaluation. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status for all individuals who were recorded by a Siri device without their consent from October 12, 2011 to the present.

    The lawsuit asks for Apple to obtain consent before recording a minor's Siri interactions, to delete all existing recordings, and to prevent unauthorized recordings in the future. It also asks for $5,000 in damages per violation.

    Apple has suspended its Siri evaluation program right now as it reviews the processes that are in place in light of the contractor's claims. Prior to the suspension of the program, Apple said that a small, random subset (less than 1%) of daily Siri requests are analyzed for improving Siri and dictation, with requests not associated with a user's Apple ID.

    Apple in the future plans to release a software update that will let Siri users opt out of having their Siri queries included in the evaluation process, something that's not possible at the current time. All collected Siri data can be cleared from an iOS device by turning Siri off and then on again, while accidental recordings can be stopped by disabling "Hey Siri."

    Article Link: Apple Facing Lawsuit for 'Unlawful and Intentional' Recording of Confidential Siri Requests Without User Consent
     
  2. Jyby macrumors 6502a

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    Woot! Also Microsoft is getting in trouble for it now.... What I really want revealed is who are these "contractor" companies that got to listen to our recordings? Is the government included in that pool of "contractors"?
     
  3. Zachari macrumors regular

    Zachari

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    1% of the millions of Apple products is still a crap ton of people. Oops.
     
  4. sundog925 macrumors 6502a

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  5. nsayer macrumors 6502a

    nsayer

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    All of that quality assurance work and Siri is still comically bad at understanding what she's asked.
     
  6. Zaft macrumors 68040

    Zaft

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  7. ersan191 macrumors 65816

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    Uhh... did I miss something - I don’t think anyone ever suggested that it was recording outside of those times.
     
  8. Jyby macrumors 6502a

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    I think its more that QA work... Theres something more to this story...
    --- Post Merged, Aug 7, 2019 ---
    Yeah apparently the sound of a zipper can trigger Siri.. There was an article about the different sounds that could trigger "Hey Siri"
    --- Post Merged, Aug 7, 2019 ---
    Who is saying it's 1%? I think thats BS from Apple... I bet it's every Siri encounter. No reason it couldn't be.. No reason the government couldn't catch all of that or force Apple to.
     
  9. nacheen macrumors newbie

    nacheen

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    Guess they should have read the terms of service better...
     
  10. ersan191 macrumors 65816

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    Is accidental triggering the basis of this lawsuit? Because it sounds like they are claiming Apple is recording conversations outside of wake word intentionally - which they definitely are not.
     
  11. neuropsychguy macrumors 65816

    neuropsychguy

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  12. Jyby macrumors 6502a

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    It's super possible that Apple doesn't have other wake methods etc. I think the case is valid though. "Hey Siri" is the method Apple says triggers Siri- but that isn't true.
     
  13. mmomega macrumors 68040

    mmomega

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    My wife watching iJustine and she said "Hey Temi" (sounds like Tammy almost) from some new personal robot she got. yep that activated my HomePod and it can rarely turn my bedroom lamps on properly.
     
  14. Jyby macrumors 6502a

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    Nah it has legs to stand on. It's like if another company said the only way to turn this product on is X, but they didn't tell you method Y or Z could trigger something you don't want.
     
  15. Khedron macrumors 65816

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    1% of requests, not customers. So if you've asked Siri 50 requests* you've probably been listened to.

    *or accidentally activated
     
  16. Jyby macrumors 6502a

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    Yeah and isn't it supposed to only react to your voice?
     
  17. Fixey macrumors regular

    Fixey

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    I wonder what these people sue companies like Apple over these things would do if they knew what the government dose.
     
  18. JetBlack7 macrumors 68020

    JetBlack7

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    #18
    1st: Siri is activated on command, so not on all the time.

    2nd: Google is always listening, yet no lawsuit.

    3rd: They should have disclosed this issue from the start.
     
  19. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000

    thisisnotmyname

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    This is why we can't have nice things. Of course recordings of things Siri couldn't understand need to be listened to, this is how we understand what went wrong :p
     
  20. Jyby macrumors 6502a

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    They probably know what the government does.. And they do sue the government over privacy concerns.
     
  21. uajafd macrumors member

    uajafd

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    "Apple in the future plans to release a software update that will let Siri users opt out of having their Siri queries included in the evaluation process, something that's not possible at the current time."

    Not nearly good. This should be opt-in, not opt-out. Also, I imagine this is some grounds for a GDPR lawsuit.

    I also read the whole privacy statement displayed when you try to enable Siri. Nowhere in it does it say that humans listen to snippets of your conversations.
     
  22. mmomega macrumors 68040

    mmomega

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    #22
    Justine's voice is probably heard more in my house than mine...... who knows.
     
  23. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000

    thisisnotmyname

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    #23
    If there's a 1% chance for each request (assuming perfectly even odds for every request which I would expect is not true) then there's about a 60% chance you were not listened to in 50 requests.
     
  24. MaxinMusicCity macrumors regular

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    #24
     
  25. sir1963nz macrumors 6502a

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    "What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone" ... apparently not.

    Apple has made HUGE statements about privacy, "Privacy is King" , and it turns out that is 'misleading' at best.

    Will I opt-in, nope because you have shown that you are no more trustworthy than any other company when it suits you.
     

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