Siri Stores Your Data for Two Years

Apple has confirmed that all the queries, messages, and voice commands you told Siri are stored on its servers for up to two years. This raises questions regarding privacy policy on Apple’s voice-activated personal digital assistant available on iPhones.

A spokesperson for Apple assures Siri users that the company takes steps in making sure the data is “anonymized” and its collection is solely for improvements on Siri itself. This is the first time Apple has admitted about how long it is keeping data gather from Siri, but privacy and civil liberty advocates wish the company could have done more.

The process goes as this. Every time you speak to Siri, your device sends your commands to Apple’s data farm for analysis. Apple identifies the user using randomly-generated numbers and associates voice files according to user’s numbers. Siri’s voice analysis system does not identify the users with their Apple user ID or email address.

Six months after sending that voice command, Apple “disassociates” the user number from the audio clip. It deletes the number from the voice file, but keeps it for up to 18 more months for the purpose of testing and product improvement.

The Apple spokesperson also added that “if a user turns Siri off, both identifiers are deleted immediately along with any associated data.”

Privacy advocates have said that Apple should do more, such as linking its Siri privacy policy on its FAQ regarding the software. Doing so would have given consumers an idea of what they will get before buying a Siri-equipped iPhone or iPad. As of now, the privacy policy for Siri can be read within the Siri Settings section of your device.

Nevertheless, Siri users like you should be careful about what you say to their digital assistant, as transcripts could reveal sensitive information about you, your family, friends, or business. While Siri “works” as your assistant, the software is still owned by Apple.

Source: Wired, via Silicone Valley Business Journals

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