According to CNBC, Apple apologized Wednesday for a secret Siri program that allowed third party businesses to listen in on snippets of what consumers were discussing with Siri. Apple billed it the “Siri Grading Program.” According to CNBC, the program, which allowed Apple to share Siri recordings with contractors, was discontinued a few weeks ago. This is the first time they have addressed it publicly in a wide-ranging manner.
The program was designed to help troubleshoot Siri and enhance its performance. CNBC quotes a press release posted on Apple’s website as saying that the grading was done to “measure how well Siri was responding and to improve its reliability.” A few of the things they claimed to have focused on were words that may have inadvertently triggered Siri and Siri’s level of comprehension of user commands.
The company has said that the new Siri grading system will run on an opt in basis and that all information will be processed and handled exclusively by Apple employees. CNBC references a report by The Guardian that the company has cut ties with more than 300 contractors hired for the specific purpose of listening to Siri recordings. Apple also said that they would “no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions.”