Apple retains Siri voice data for up to two years

By on April 19, 2013, 10:54 AM

Apple recently revealed the fact that they keep all Siri inquiries stored on their servers for up to two years. That’s right, every question, comment or message spoken to the personal assistant gets anonymized and archived to improve the service, according to Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller.

The admission comes after Wired published a story about some unclear disclosures in Siri’s privacy policy. The story itself came to light courtesy of American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Nicole Ozer who brought the issue to the publication’s attention.

Here’s how the process works, according to Muller. When you interact with Siri, the audio recording is beamed over to Apple’s data farm for analysis. Apple creates a random number to associate with a particular user and their submissions. This unique identifier, which isn’t your Apple ID or your e-mail address, represents the user’s Siri submissions with regard to back-end analysis.

After six months, the voice clip in question is disassociated with the user. The clip is then stored for up to 18 months to assist Apple in testing and improving the product. It’s worth pointing out that if a user turns Siri off, both identifiers are deleted immediately along with any associated data.

It’s the first time that Apple has revealed how long they retain Siri data although the ACLU lawyer said Apple could do more. She believes Apple should link to Siri’s privacy policy on the service’s FAQ. What’s more, since everything is archived, she suggests people should be careful about what they say to the personal assistant as it could contain sensitive information.




User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

Before some screams foul, ask yourself, "why does it matter?". I 100% guarantee no one cares about your siri usage. You are not that important.

mailpup mailpup said:

Someone might care if you keep asking about how to make bombs and such.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

At least we kind of know what they do with the data, still don't know what Google does with its voice data, or for how long. But then again Google has to much on the ACLU to worry about it lol.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Lol, wrong thread

Mortalife Mortalife said:

Are we really all that surprised?

MilwaukeeMike said:

Are we really all that surprised?

Well how else are they going to improve their system? Pay a bunch of people to say random things and check the answers, or just use the millions coming in?

Real users asking everyday questions would be the best possible way to find holes in Siri's logic. Our desire to be both online connected to everyone while being invisible and anonymous is really getting out of hand. Note that an ACLU lawyer brought this up.. not an actual user who was worried about anything. I wonder how long they spent trying to find a reason to sue the richest company in the country.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Before some screams foul, ask yourself, "why does it matter?". I 100% guarantee no one cares about your siri usage. You are not that important.

Well if I am not important, why save the data?

Guest said:

@ Darkshadoe

important on analytical level, not on personal level to help make the system better.

Guest said:

Seems like a common sense solution to this is to ask users opt-in (or at a minimum give them a chance to opt-out).

Emexrulsier said:

Someone might care if you keep asking about how to make bombs and such.

Siri can't even answer a basic question such as what colour is orange I doubt it can give guidance on making a bomb

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