Apple addresses "Hey Siri" and Live Photos privacy concerns

Since Apple introduced the new "Hey Siri" and Live Photos features on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus earlier this week, some have expressed concern over the privacy protocols involved with each feature. This evening, Apple has addressed these concerns in a series of statements given to TechCrunch.

For the "Hey Siri" feature, which allows a user to activate Siri at any time with their voice, there was concern that Apple would be constantly recording and saving audio, potentially picking up everything you say. However, Apple has clarified that this is not the case:

"In no case is the device recording what the user says or sending that information to Apple before the feature is triggered," says Apple."The "listening" audio, which will be continuously overwritten, will be used to improve Siri's response time in instances where the user activates Siri," says Apple.

So, essentially, the feature works much like other voice-activated assistants, such as Google Now and Cortana, by listening for a specific phrase and only sending data off to Apple after that phrase activates Siri. The phrase matching itself occurs locally.

Apple employs a similar method for Live Photos, which will save video of the 1.5 seconds before and after a picture is taken:

"Although the camera is "recording" while you're in Live Photo mode, the device will not save the 1.5 seconds before until you press the camera button," says Apple. "The pre-captured images are not saved to the user's device nor are they sent off the device."

Apple goes on to say that security for Live Photos is treated exactly the same as existing photos and videos, staying encrypted and on the device unless you opt to share them with iCloud or an outside party.

Source: TechCrunch

Dan Thorp-Lancaster