Ever since Apple introduced Siri, there have been security concerns revolving around the voiced-based virtual assistant, especially about how long Apple keeps users' voice commands that Siri sends back to its servers. According to Wired, Apple has revealed how long it keeps the voice information in an attempt to ease users' minds about privacy.
According to Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller, the company keeps the voice commands on its servers for two years, albeit without keeping any user information.
“Our customers’ privacy is very important to us,” says Muller.
She explains that when used, Siri ships recordings of the voice commands to Aple's servers for analysis. The recordings are represented in the servers by a randomly generated number, instead of the user's Apple ID or email address.
After six months, Apple “disassociates” the user number from the recording, but the file itself is kept for up to 18 more months. This is so that the company can test and improve on Siri.
“Apple may keep anonymized Siri data for up to two years,” Muller says. “If a user turns Siri off, both identifiers are deleted immediately along with any associated data.”
Siri raises some privacy concerns
Back in November, it was revealed that Apple has been working on getting Siri to use more languages. The tech giant had posted a job listing that stated that it was looking for people fluent in Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Korean, Norwegian and Swedish. Siri is currently available in a host of languages. However, some of the languages mentioned here are not known to Siri yet.
Siri, dubbed as an intelligent personal assistant, works with devices that ship with iOS 5 and later. It uses voice recognition technology to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions. Apple claims that the software adapts to users' individual preferences over time and personalises results.
It was originally introduced as an app that was available on the iOS App Store. The developer, Siri, was acquired by Apple. The software made its debut as one of the core features of iOS with the iPhone 4S. It was later added to third-generation iPad.
Currently, Siri supports English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Spansih, Mandarin, Korean and Cantonese. Outside the United States and Canada, the software has very limited functionality. For example, you can use Siri to look for a restaurant in Mumbai.
The software has been ported into older iOS devices through jailbreaking, but uses different backend servers than the ones used by Apple.