Two months later, Apple released a software update that allowed users to opt in or out of their voice recordings being used to "improve Siri dictation", and to choose to delete the recordings that it had stored. It seemed unusual that Apple would outsource the listening to of Siri recordings to a third party, especially when it emerged that some recordings featured incredibly private customer information, including discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, criminal activity, and sexual encounters.
July past year, Apple whistleblower revealed that the company had a program that illegally listens to users' Siri recordings.
The whistleblower had initially remained anonymous, but has revealed himself in protest against the lack of action taken against Apple for "violating fundamental human rights" - and he has done so with an open letter to European privacy regulators stating his concerns.
The letter also expresses extreme concerns over big tech companies that are actually wiretapping the whole population despite the European citizens being assured that the EU is protected by one of the strongest existing data protection laws around the world.More news: Joe Biden wins Hawaii Democratic primary
And that was basically it - a fact that does not sit well with le Bonniec.
'Passing a law is not good enough: it needs to be enforced upon privacy offenders'. He told The Guardian that the company operates on a "moral and legal grey area. and they have been doing this for years on a massive scale. They should be called out in every possible way", Le Bonniec was quoted as saying by The Guardian in 2019.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
However, according to Le Bonniec, the company fell dismally short of accepting the responsibility for its years of accumulating massive private data without the users' consent.
In December 2019, when the news broke of the program, the DPC put out a statement that referenced digital assistants from Google and Amazon as well as Apple and said it was "currently engaging with those organisations to establish the manner by which their voice assistant products comply with data protection requirements".More news: ‘Pac-Man Live Studio’ turns arcade classic into Twitch multiplayer
"The recordings were not limited to the users of Apple devices, but also involved relatives, children, friends, colleagues, and whoever could be recorded by the device".
He wrote that such practices are at odds with Apple's "privacy-driven" policies while mentioning that these activities should be urgently investigated by data protection authorities and privacy watchdogs. These recordings were often taken outside of any activation of Siri, e.g.in the context of an actual intention from the user to activate it for a request.
"The system recorded everything: names, addresses, messages, searches, arguments, background noises, films, and conversations".
Those recordings were captured by Apple's Siri digital assistant, which constantly listens out for potential voice commands to obey.More news: Top Health Experts Say Moderna Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be Ready within Months