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Apple keeps recordings of Siri queries for two years

April 21, 2013 10:54 am by | 17 Comments

shut-up-siri

You may not remember that time you jokingly asked Siri how to bury a body, but Apple sure does.

Apple holds on to Siri queries for up to two years after they’re asked, an Apple spokesperson tells Wired. After iPhone users ask Siri a question, that question gets analyzed and stored. Six months later, Apple anonymizes the data, but holds onto it indefinitely for “testing purposes”.

Basically, all of what you’ve asked Siri is currently being stored on Apple’s servers somewhere.

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How about helping me delete my data?

Apple’s desire to hold onto Siri data is understandable. After all, every current Siri response only serves to make future Siri responses more quick and relevant. More, that data is powerful even without knowing who it came from.

The real problem, though, isn’t that Apple keeps the data — it’s that not so many people are aware that that storage is happening.

Apple’s privacy policy, for instance, doesn’t mention Siri at all, and the Siri FAQ makes no note of how long Apple stores user queries. Whether that oversight is intentional or not isn’t known, but Apple would certainly be wise to rectify it soon.

Fortunately, Apple says it automatically deletes your data if you decide to turn Siri off, which should be a welcome solace to the more privacy-obsessed iPhone users out there.

All of this, of course, should be vindication for IBM CIO Jeanette Horan, who told MIT’s Technology Review last year that her company bans Siri for the exact things we’re talking about here.

“We’re just extraordinarily conservative. It’s the nature of our business,” Horan said.

Perhaps every company should be as conservative as IBM is.


Filed under: Business

This article originally appeared on VentureBeat

Copyright 2014 MedCity News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By Ricardo Bilton,

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17 comments
David Logan
David Logan

I don't see how privacy is an issue. Assuming they aren't saving/indexing names, ip addresses, and other personal identifiable information so that somebody can go get your stuff directly, what difference does it make? Is the assertion that just having a recorded sentence in somebody's voice is "personally identifiable information" that needs to be managed? Or are you worried that they won't be ethical, and will in fact use your request plus your personally identifiable information in some devious way?

OeterB
OeterB

@paulmp So, I wonder how many people will now regret asking Siri inappropriate questions...

David
David

Dictation transcriptions too.  If you notice, voice dication won't work if you're not on data or wifi.

Possible Apple has a huge record of messages, diary entries, memos....


David Logan
David Logan

Who wouldn' t know that Siri requests are recorded and kept? All Siri requests go to the mothership for processing, and Siri does a rather horrible job of interpreting my requests today, so this is no surprise. If I was a leader in that technology, I would do the exact same thing. Plus, I would automatically flag any Siri request that was followed by more (if at all possible, more similar ones, like "No, I said SALAD, dammit! SALAD!") It's obvious that Siri requests get saved. I would expect my voice converted text messages do too.

markhillary
markhillary

@tref yes, Apple cares so much they want to store every request like "PUB NEAR ME NOW" for years

StephenSilliker
StephenSilliker

@David Logan ---- Well said. If the majority of people were even relatively intelligent, they would automatically conclude that everything tech-based can be recorded. I know a 13 year old kid who can install programs on blackberrys, laptops, androids, etc. that will record every keystroke; every connection attempt, location (if gps on) etc. Apple's been doing this for a long time and -hopefully- continues. If you're SO worried about your precious privacy, stop using the damn internet, throw away your smartphone, delete your email and Facebook! That's the worst part~~ Worried about what you say to SIRI, but not about the little 14 yr old hacker in the central states currently taking down all your FB information. What would the world be without idiots? Boring.

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