Apple Pushes Privacy Features for Siri on the Upcoming iOS 13.2

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated September 25, 2021

Apple has decided to follow Google’s example with the Assistant and will introduce better privacy control for users with iOS 13.2. While it’s still in its second beta, the features that relate to Siri are getting implemented and include user history deletion and opting out from sharing data. Both Google and Apple were somewhat obliged to do this after the public backlash that followed the revelations about the AI assistants recording you and sending audio snippets to human reviewers. While this program will continue with the users who approve of it, those who don’t will have the power to opt-out.

Once a user upgrades to iOS 13.2, a message pops-up and informs them of the new ability to “delete Siri and dictation interactions history”. Users will be given the capacity to opt-out from audio reviews, although Apple likes to highlight the fact that these remain entirely anonymized. If a user regrets a decision taken right after the upgrade to 13.2, they will be able to hop to the Privacy settings under the “Analytics & Improvements” screen at any point and toggle the switch to where they prefer it.

siri privacy

Source: Tech Radar

If you have been allowing Apple to use Siri recordings for AI optimizations before, changing the setting now won’t delete the audio snippets that were sent to reviewers before. This means that once the data leaves your device, you are no longer in control of it. What will be deleted is the association with the iPhone device that the audio snippets were sourced from. It will then enter an “orphaned” state, having all of its ID tags removed, so there can be no tracing back to the source, ever.

One more key change that has been introduced by Apple is the fact that the human reviewers will not be employees of third-party contractors anymore. Instead, all audio snippets will end up in the hands of Apple employees, who are better controlled and closely monitored by the company, and thus have fewer chances of abusing their access. This is one way to see it, but the other is to help prevent leaks to the media in the future. Remember, this whole story began after a third party contractor who reviewed Google Assistant snippets gave it away to a Belgian news outlet.

Will you be allowing Siri to record what you say and send it to human reviewers now, or are you opting-out the program? Let us know where you stand in the comments down below, or on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

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