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Apple to make changes to Siri privacy following an internal review

Apple has released a statement on improving the privacy protections of users who engage with Siri, following criticism over the way recorded voice clips were screened.

The company announced that it will no longer retain data from audio recordings by default and that users will have to opt-in if they want Apple to use their voice samples.

What’s more, Apple says that it will “aim to delete” recordings that are inadvertent triggers.

In a new FAQ on its website, the company shared information on how Siri protects users’ privacy, reminding users that in the majority of situations, data is not sent back to Apple.

“If you ask Siri to read your unread messages, Siri simply instructs your device to read aloud your unread messages,” the company said. “The contents of your messages aren’t transmitted to Siri’s servers, because that isn’t necessary to fulfill your request.”

Apple added that data is essential to making Siri better, and that “In order for Siri to more accurately complete personalized tasks, it collects and stores certain information from your device.

“For instance, when Siri encounters an uncommon name, it may use names from your Contacts to make sure it recognizes the name correctly.”

Following a review of the company’s current procedures, Apple said it was making changes.

“As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize.

“As we previously announced, we halted the Siri grading program. We plan to resume later this fall when software updates are released to our users,” the company added, confirming changes were coming soon.

The company will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions and will now use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.

Users will be able to opt-out, and only Apple employees will be able to listen to Siri interactions – not any third-parties.

“Apple is committed to putting the customer at the center of everything we do, which includes protecting their privacy,” the company finished in its statement.

“We created Siri to help them get things done, faster and easier, without compromising their right to privacy. We are grateful to our users for their passion for Siri, and for pushing us to constantly improve.”

Are you satisfied with Apple’s response? Does the company have more to do to convince you to use Siri? Let us know your thoughts over on @AppleMagazine and check back soon for more Apple news and rumors, as and when we get them.

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