Apple recently revealed the fact that the company preserved all data collected by Siri, the personal assistant for two years before it is discarded. The whole purpose of this action is to improve its voice-driven service while keeping data in an anonymized manner.
As it is expected from a voice assistant, is that much of its work is done remotely. In this respect, the personal assistants software available on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch requires an internet connection in order to operate. Each voice record is categorized by a random number, which describe the user who records it. The respective number is then associated with an Apple ID, email address and also any other detail that could be personally identifiable.
After this happens, within six months, the records are preserved and directly associated with the user. After six months, the random number no longer describes the respective user, but the file is still saved for another year and a half for “testing and product improvement purposes”. In the same time, if users turn off Siri, the number for identification is automatically deleted as well as any other data associated with it.
Siri, the personal assistant, is used to send text messages, initiate phone calls, write emails, and browse the internet, search for locations or add notes. Siri was long time used in order to provide accurate results from the internet, to perform personal tasks or social activities. However, the fact that Siri needs feedback from Apple before it can provide accurate results it has been a debatable issue for a long time. In this respect, last year, IBM suggested the fact that company uses Siri for its corporate networks and the personal assistant might reveal some sensitive and secret information.
Apple’s official spokeswoman Truly Muller stated the fact that the company keeps anonymized data collected through Siri only “to improve the service and that the company takes customer privacy very seriously”. As it was stated before, Muller says, “If a user turns Siri off, both identifiers are deleted immediately along with any associated data”.
This is the first time when Apple confesses how much the company preserves data collected by the voice recognition assistant. The Cupertino Company suggested the fact that all voice files gathered by Siri come with a randomly generated number in order to keep all things private, which does not incriminate the user in a way or another.
The concern of privacy critics such as American Civil Liberties Union lawyers is the fact that Apple does not state this data collecting process anywhere in its sections. Therefore, Apple does not directly inform its users regarding the process of saving voice data collected by Siri over time as well as assigning them a personal number for identification.