17.2 C
London
Friday, July 10, 2020

Whistleblower sues Apple for “intercepting entire populations” after revealing that Siri listens to users

A former Apple contractor who opened the curtain on the technology giant last summer, exposing an internal program that listens to the user’s Siri recordings, has made himself known to the world.

Thomas le Bonniec worked on a Siri “grading project” that collected audio fragments to improve the accuracy of the smart assistant.

Last year, Le Bonniec revealed to The Guardian that while working for Apple he listened to private and sometimes intimate recordings including medical discussions, criminal activities, sex and official job interviews.

Initially, the whistleblower remained anonymous, but came out in protest against the lack of actions taken against Apple for “violation of fundamental human rights” – and he did so with an open letter to European privacy regulators stating his concerns.

Scroll down for the video

Former Apple contractor Thomas le Bonniec, who opened the curtain on the tech giant last summer, by exposing an internal program that listens to the user's Siri recordings, has made himself known to the world

Former Apple contractor Thomas le Bonniec, who opened the curtain on the tech giant last summer, by exposing an internal program that listens to the user’s Siri recordings, has made himself known to the world

“There isn’t much control over who works there, and the amount of data we are free to examine seems large enough,” Le Bonniec told the Guardian in July.

“It wouldn’t be difficult to identify the person you’re listening to, especially with accidental triggers: addresses, names and so on.”

Daily Mail has contacted Amazon for comment and has not yet received a response.

The letter, which Le Bonniec sent to all European data protection regulators, states: “It is worrying that Apple (and no doubt not only Apple) continues to ignore and violate fundamental rights and continues their enormous data collection.”

Last year, Le Bonniec revealed to The Guardian that while working for Apple he listened to private and sometimes intimate recordings including medical discussions, criminal activities, sex and official job interviews

Last year, Le Bonniec revealed to The Guardian that while working for Apple he listened to private and sometimes intimate recordings including medical discussions, criminal activities, sex and official job interviews

“I am extremely concerned that big tech companies are basically intercepting entire populations, despite European citizens being told that the EU has one of the strongest data protection laws in the world.”

“Passing a law is not good enough: it must be applied to privacy violators.”

Le Bonniec held a subcontractor position at the Apple offices in Cork, where he listens to fragments in English and French until his resignation in 2019.

“They operate on a moral and legal gray area,” he told the Guardian at the time, “and have done so for years on a large scale. They should be called in every way possible. ‘

He went on to say that he would listen to thousands of recordings every day and from a wide range of Apple devices, including iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad – any device that included Siri.

The letter, which Le Bonniec sent to all European data protection regulators, states: “It is worrying that Apple (and no doubt not only Apple) continues to ignore and violate fundamental rights and continues their enormous data collection”

And all the activity was carried out without the user’s consent.

However, Le Bonniec noted that he was not only the owner of the device conversations they were collecting, but sometimes they included relatives, friends, children and colleagues.

Apple had admitted the practices not reported following the activity exposed in July 2019.

A small portion of Siri’s requests are analyzed to improve Siri and the dictation. User requests are not associated with the user’s Apple ID, “said the company.

“Siri’s responses are analyzed in secure facilities and all reviewers are required to comply with Apple’s strict confidentiality requirements.”

Following the 2019 report, Apple released a statement addressing concerns.

“We know that customers have been concerned about the recent reports of people listening to Siri audio recordings as part of our Siri quality assessment process – which we call classification,” reads the announcement.

“We listened to their concerns, immediately suspended the human classification of Siri’s requests and started a thorough review of our practices and policies.”

“As a result, we have decided to make some changes to Siri.”

However, according to the open letter, Apple may not yet have turned their words into actions.

.

Latest news

Government “ax stamp duty for six months on homes worth up to £ 500k”

According to the report, the Chancellor is expected to announce a six-month stamp holiday to help the UK housing market. Rishi Sunak...

Post-lockdown ‘unrecognizable’ Magaluf with empty streets and ‘chaos’ restaurant – World News

Brits flying to Magaluf's post-lockdown could be greeted with an "unrecognizable" ghost town. The holiday spot on the island of Majorca is...

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith complains about the Premier League rule after the defeat of Liverpool

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith complained of the five substitutes' provisional rule after seeing his team lose to Liverpool. Sadio Mane and...

No social distance as the pubs open on Super Saturday

Old Compton Street in Soho, London, was full of drinkers on "Super Saturday" despite the strong police presence. (Justin Tallis / AFP via...

Related news

Government “ax stamp duty for six months on homes worth up to £ 500k”

According to the report, the Chancellor is expected to announce a six-month stamp holiday to help the UK housing market. Rishi Sunak...

Post-lockdown ‘unrecognizable’ Magaluf with empty streets and ‘chaos’ restaurant – World News

Brits flying to Magaluf's post-lockdown could be greeted with an "unrecognizable" ghost town. The holiday spot on the island of Majorca is...

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith complains about the Premier League rule after the defeat of Liverpool

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith complained of the five substitutes' provisional rule after seeing his team lose to Liverpool. Sadio Mane and...

No social distance as the pubs open on Super Saturday

Old Compton Street in Soho, London, was full of drinkers on "Super Saturday" despite the strong police presence. (Justin Tallis / AFP via...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.