Just this January, Apple featured a billboard at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone,” the billboard stated. The recent news that Apple had contractors listening to Siri conversations for quality control—and that these contractors sometimes had access to deeply personal conversations—debunks this claim. While this news is unsettling, it brings up something important that we all need to know—and talk about: when we use voice assistants like Siri, whatever we say no longer belongs to us. The voice-to-text travels off the device, into the cloud and outside of our control.
Shortly after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced that they were divorcing, the National Enquirer published text messages that Bezos had reportedly sent to Lauren Sanchez, who he is currently in a relationship with. Bezos, like everybody else, is entitled to his privacy. These text messaging leaks, however, remind us that security is a must in order to protect personal information—whether business related, financial or private conversations with friends and family.