Siri Stores Your Voice Recordings for Up to 2 Years, Apple Reveals

Spokeswoman confirms that data is anonymized but used for testing

By on April 19th, 2013 11:50 GMT

According to Nicole Ozer, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, Apple is not doing enough to inform the public about Siri and the data it collects. An Apple spokeswoman also confirms that the company stores voice recordings for up to two years.

Pretty serious stuff, when you take the whole thing out of context. But Apple’s Tracy Muller assures us our voice recordings are safe, as they are only used by Siri’s data center, anonymously and in the safest possible manner.

“All of those questions, messages, and stern commands that people have been whispering to Siri are stored on Apple servers for up to two years,” Wired reports.

Citing the Apple spokeswoman, the site reveals that the company makes sure the data is anonymized. Apple “only collects the Siri voice clips in order to improve Siri itself,” it says.

According to Mrs. Muller, “Our customers’ privacy is very important to us.”

The report goes to explain the technicalities, including the fact that each person is assigned a random number which Siri can correlate to that person each time he / she asks for something.

Apple “disassociates” the number from the clip once the recording is six months old, but it can continue to keep these files on its servers for testing purposes.

“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.”

However, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who had previously raised privacy questions about Siri says Apple should take additional steps to protect its users’ privacy.

According to Nicole Ozer, “There is no good reason for Apple to not include information about privacy practices on their Siri FAQ page.”

She cautions that even if Siri doesn’t directly link the recordings to its users, “[Transcripts] of what you say to Siri could reveal sensitive things about you, your family, or business,” she says.

“Siri works for Apple, so make a note to yourself to really think before you speak,” she adds.

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Still from the Siri promotional video
   Still from the Siri promotional video