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After Facing Flak, Google & Apple stop Listening to User’s Chats

Both the technology giants claim to respect user’s privacy but their actions paint a different picture.

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Criticised for invading its user’s privacy, both the technology giants Google and Apple have now stopped snooping on users' conversations.

Apple has suspended the programme that let its virtual assistant Siri listen to users' recordings for "quality control". Google also claims to have stopped listening and transcribing Google Assistant recordings but only in Europe.

Belgian broadcaster VRT NWS reported last month that users' conversations with Google Home speakers were being recorded and audio clips were being sent to sub-contractors who then "transcribed the audio files for subsequent use.

This data was used to improve Google's speech recognition technology", thus, raising serious privacy concerns.

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The iPhone-maker was reportedly paying contractors to listen to recorded conversations of Siri.

A report that surfaced last week raised concerns as a former contractor at the iPhone-maker claimed that Siri interactions are sent to workers who listen to the recordings and are asked to grade it for a variety of factors.

A Google spokesperson said it has paused "language reviews" while Apple has said it would issue a software update in future that will let Siri users choose whether they participate in the grading process or not, TechCrunch reported on Friday.

While these activities from Google are hardly surprising, it raise a few eyebrows seeing Apple being mentioned with respect to privacy concerns of the user. In addition to Google and Apple, Amazon was also caught in a similar case earlier this year, where it admitted to employing staff to listen to some Alexa recordings.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Apple Siri   user privacy 

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