So many devices we use and keep with us are capable of recording voice, so how can we be sure they’re not eavesdropping on us? If you say “Hey, Google” or “Hey, Siri” are our devices respond, doesn’t that imply they’re constantly listening to us? How much data can our phones store about us and who can access this information? Keep reading to learn more.
Apple responded to a slew of questions from the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, and stated that their business model is different from their competitors who rely on selling consumer information to advertisers. The letter stated:
We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data. When we do collect data, we’re transparent about it and work to disassociate it from the user.
So if privacy is important to Apple how does Siri respond when you say “Hey, Siri”? Well, it’s a phrase that is locally stored and the phone only wakes up if there is a high probability what it hears is actually they “Hey, Siri” cue. This is why you have to record yourself saying it when you first setup your phone. This recording is anonymous and never tied to your Apple ID. Apple argues that other companies store this ‘short command’ in ways that are associated with an individual which means they can be linked to targeted marketing.
Apple has also put many terms in place to keep your privacy at the forefront of app development. If an app is compliant with Apple’s terms, it will give you a visual cue that it has access to your microphone, even after you give it permission to record your voice. These settings can always be changed later too. However, Apple doesn’t always monitor apps to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to. That’s why it is very important to make sure you know what you are downloading onto your phone, learn more here.
So what do you think about Siri and Google? Do you think they are listening to our conversations? Let us know in the comments below!