updated 11:25 am EDT, Fri April 19, 2013
Apple claims data anonymized, used to improve technology
All the requests people have made through Siri are being stored on Apple servers for a period of up to two years, says Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. The statement comes in response to Wired inquiries about ambiguity in Siri's privacy policies, initially pointed out by American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Nicole Ozer. Muller insists that Apple is anonymizing the request data, and only collecting voice clips in order to improve Siri.
In detail Muller explains that when a Siri request is made, the voice clip is sent to Apple servers for analysis. A set of random numbers is generated to represent a person, with which voice files are linked. After six months a file is disassociated with its user number, but the file is kept for as long as 18 months afterward for the sake of testing and development. Muller adds that if a person turns Siri off, identifiers and any associated data are deleted immediately.
The lawyer adds that because recordings are sent to Apple, they may want to watch what they say. Transcripts "could reveal sensitive things about you, your family, or business," she points out.