My children often use my iPhone to ask Siri the most bizarre questions. No matter what the question, however, Siri always seems to have an immediate answer. Had I thought about it in any detail, I probably would have figured out that there was some form of back end data gathering/analysis being performed in order for this to have happened. Yet, I must confess that I had no idea that my Siri voice requests were being gathered, analyzed and more importantly, stored for any length of time.
Late last week, it was reported
that Apple disclosed just how long it keeps this data- 2 years. Apple allegedly anonymizes the data by assigning random numbers to represent the user and associates the voice request files with that number. After 6 months, Apple allegedly disassociates the number from the voice file. The disassociated files are allegedly kept for up to another 18 months for “testing and product improvement purposes.” If Siri is turned off, the associated data is allegedly deleted.
I was so spellbound by the technology that I forgot to inquire about the related privacy issues. The ACLU is pushing for greater disclosure of Apple’s privacy practices on its Siri FAQ page. Meanwhile, hopefully Siri can keep a secret.