Apple execs to be grilled on privacy following  Siri listening project in Cork

Apple execs to be grilled on privacy following  Siri listening project in Cork
The Apple plant at Hollyhill on the northside of Cork City. Picture Dan Linehan

GOOGLE and Apple will be asked to explain the use of data collected by voice-activated digital assistants at the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment today.

The Committee is examining issues of concern around digital assistants or voice assistants like Google’s Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri.

Some of the Apple technology was used in Cork by contractors.

In August, some of the 300 GlobeTech workers in Cork, who lost their jobs when Apple pulled the plug on the controversial Siri listening operation, were sent a letter giving them just two weeks’ notice to leave the country.

Globetech contracted staff to listen to and grade recordings from the Apple voice assistant, Siri. 

The workers were stood down when Apple halted the listening project amid claims that people’s privacy had been violated.

Speaking before the meeting, Committee Chair, Deputy Hildegarde Naughton said: “There is growing concern about the recording of voices by these devices. If the microphone is always on in our homes, what data is being stored and who can listen to that data or who is it being shared with? What profiles are being created from the data collected by these devises and who is this information being shared with.

“Visitors that come into the home or unsuspecting children may also have their data collected. We are all vulnerable when we do not know what is happening to our own data. We are exploring this issue in terms of data protection and whether stronger transparency and legislation is needed in this area.”

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