Just last week, a report from The Guardian dug into a program where third-party contractors listened to anonymous footage of Apple users asking Siri questions to judge the assistant's response, and now Apple has shut it down. In a statement to TechCrunch the company said that while conducting a "thorough" review, it suspends the program globally. This comes shortly after Google announced that they would temporarily put down a similar effort, but only for EU users.
While Apple has spied privacy embedded in its products and spotted models that mine user data for advertising, just like Amazon and Google it relies on real people to improve its AI assistant. As The Guardians report indicated, listening to recordings from the real world can mean picking up all kinds of situations, including criminal activities and sexual encounters. As TechCrunch notes, the terms of service indicate that these programs exist, but exactly how much end users understand about the possibility of being heard by a real person ̵
Although we do not know what will happen to the program or when it may restart, Apple will, according to future software update, give users the option to explicitly choose whether to participate in the grading.
We are committed to providing a great Siri experience while protecting users' privacy. While conducting a thorough review, we suspend Siri's rating globally. In addition, as part of a future software update, users will have the option to opt in to grading.