Recently, Apple has got everything right, like its iPhone 12 price and the major Coronavirus-focused upgrade to iOS. But the firm has now now given a reasonable excuse for its 1.5 billion iPhone and iPad customers worldwide to abandon.
The Guardian broke a shocking story last year that Apple employed contractors to listen to and ‘grade’ recordings on Siri. It was performed “regularly” without customer awareness and employees learning sensitive material from iPhone and iPad users, including personal records, substance trafficking and filming of sex partners.
Apple immediately released a full apology, saying “we have not really fully lived up to our high standards.” But still, thanks to The Guardian’s whistleblower, we ‘re finding that little has improved.
Revealing his identity for the first time, Thomas le Bonniec, a contractor working to listen to and rate Siri videos, wrote to data security authorities alleging that Apple “remains incompetent and violates human freedoms, and proceeds to accumulate huge data.” he says;
“I listened to hundreds of recordings every day, from various Apple devices (eg. iPhones, Apple Watches, or iPads). These recordings were often taken outside of any activation of Siri, eg in the context of an actual intention from the user to activate it for a request. These processings were made without users being aware of it, and were gathered into datasets to correct the transcription of the recording made by the device.
“The recordings were not limited to the users of Apple devices, but also involved relatives, children, friends, colleagues, and whoever could be recorded by the device. The system recorded everything: names, addresses, messages, searches, arguments, background noises, films, and conversations. I heard people talking about their cancer, referring to dead relatives, religion, sexuality, pornography, politics, school, relationships, or drugs with no intention to activate Siri whatsoever.
“These practices are clearly at odds with the company’s ‘privacy-driven’ policies and should be urgently investigated by data protection authorities and Privacy watchdogs. With the current statement, I want to bring this issue to your attention, and also offer my cooperation to provide any element substantiating these facts. Although this case has already gone public, Apple has not been subject to any kind of investigation to the best of my knowledge.”
While Le Bonniec is primarily running on Apple, he is also highly critical of the lack of action against Apple and big tech companies in general, saying “I am extremely concerned that [they] are basically wiretapping whole populations.”
It’s necessary to remember the so-called wiretapping of Apple isn’t an unusual event. Amazon, Twitter and Facebook acknowledged common activities, but as a selling feature like Apple, they did not deal on anonymity. In reality, the company’s Privacy Page states “We agree that privacy is a basic human right at Apple.”
In the defense of Apple, while giving users the ability to delete Siri recordings in iOS 13.2, the company stated that it was planning to resume monitoring of Siri after its release. That being said, given Le Bonniec ‘s new accusations, it is clear that further scrutiny is needed. For a answer to the latest allegations I asked Apple and will update this story when I get it.