Is Siri a spy?
There is a very interesting debate about digital marketing among technology journalists these days. We are used to banners invading our screens or being tracked by cookies and shown the same advertisements over and over again.
We have become used to firms collecting our social media data and analyzing it to come up with more relevant advertisements. These types of things, if they are not overused, can be beneficial for everyone involved.
However, there are limits to what we, as customers, agree on, in order to be shown better and more relevant advertisements. For example, we would not like our conversations to be listened to. And that is exactly what is being debated. Serhat Ayan of TKNLJ.com said in a radio interview that he was shown an advertisement of a specific hotel at a specific location that he only spoke with his friends about but never searched it online. He said he stumbled upon some friends who claimed the exact same thing happened to them on social media outlets.
If this is true, then I don’t know how legal it is.
The first time something like this hit the news was back in 2015. Hey Siri, a feature which came with the new iPhone 6S, caused quite a stir when it was revealed that Siri (Apples Artificial Intelligence integration) could be activated by just saying “Hey Siri” to your device. This functionality is not completely unknown, since previous iPhones already had this built-in function, however, they had to be plugged into a power source in order to work. This changed after the release of the iPhone 6S due to the new M9 motion processor, which makes it possible to constantly monitor background noises (appleinsider.com). This constant monitoring raises a lot of surveillance concerns, with people wondering whether or not the microphone is constantly listening to them and whether Apple is storing this data.
For me to search something on Siri or any other personalized assistance software is one thing, but the software to listen and record without my knowledge is another. I might be willing to give consent to having my data be stored or analyzed if I make a search, but I will never give my consent to any software to store all my conversations. That is just too much.
Currently, there is a group of journalists trying to gather evidence. If you have experienced anything like this, please let us know. Let’s get to the bottom of this.