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Third Party Review Of Audio Recordings From Voice Assistants Stopped By Apple, Google

Third Party Review Of Audio Recordings From Voice Assistants Stopped By Apple, Google
Mounting concerns over data privacy has forced both Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to suspend globally of reviewing of recordings from users interacting with their voice assistants.
A program called “grading” has been suspended by Apple, the company said on Friday. This program is one where the company used to review anonymized recordings of conversations that the users of Siri had with the automated voice assistant.
A news report was published by the Guardian last week claimed that confidential information and private conversations of users and of Siri voice assistants were being accessed and listened to by contractors tasked with reviewing the recordings regularly by the company.
Silicon Valley companies have been forced to employ strategies and policies to ensure greater transparency because of enhanced public and political scrutiny of data privacy practices by such companies. Analysts say that this has forced Google to stop third party reviewing of audio recordings from its Google assistant service for all purposes and in all languages. This came to light after a leak of Dutch audio data.
Regulators and law makers in the United States and other regions are debating various measures that would seek to put in curbs on the manner in which internet companies track and distribute consumer information such as those in voice assistants which is becoming a greater part of the everyday life of people such as the Siri from Google and Inc’s Alexa.  
“While we conduct a thorough review, we are suspending Siri grading globally,” an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement. She added that a future software update would also allow users to be able to opt out of the program.
The reason for the contractors of Google to review the voice data and user’s interactions through Siri was to keep a constant check on quality according to the report published in the Guardian. The report further said that the contractors also scanned whether the response from the virtual assistant was done accidentally or on purpose.
According to Google spokeswoman quoted in a news report published by the news agency Reuters, storing of audio data to their Google account can be turned off completely by users or they can even chose to auto-delete the stored data after every three months or 18 months.
The option of storing of users’ voice data recording for the development of new features in the Alexa can be turned off or opted out by users, Amazon also said. According to an Amazon spokeswoman, who informed the media through an emailed statement, in order to make the practices more clear, the company would also update the information provided to customers.

There was however no comments available from Microsoft over on the status of third party reviews for it’s artificially intelligence powered virtual assistant called Cortana

Christopher J. Mitchell

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