Apple responds to privacy concerns with in-house Siri Grading positions

How to get Siri to tell you a bedtime story
How to get Siri to tell you a bedtime story (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is hiring Siri Grading positions.
  • Apple faced concerns last month over its use of contractors to listen to Siri recordings.
  • 19 different positions available, mostly in Cork, Ireland. Over 150 total vacancies.

Apple has ramped up hiring for its in-house Siri Grading teams in the wake of privacy concerns raised last month. In August, Apple suspended a program which used contractors to listen to thousands of Siri recordings per day. Whilst most of what was heard would likely have been Siri commands, there were further reports of contractors hearing rather personal information and snippets of conversation, in particular where Siri had been triggered accidentally. Recordings were graded based on whether the activation was accidental or intentional, and whether the assistant was able to assist with the query.

In response to the initial outcry Apple gave this statement:

"We believe that everyone should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve -- this includes our own employees and the suppliers we work with in Ireland and around the world. Apple is committed to customer privacy and made the decision to suspend Siri grading while we conduct a thorough review of our processes. We're working closely with our partners as we do this to ensure the best possible outcome for our suppliers, their employees and our customers around the world."

Now, as noted by Thinknum, Apple has begun hiring in-house Siri grading positions in several key locations, most notably in Cork, Ireland where the original controversy originated. There are 19 different positions across Cork, Cupertino, Hyderabad, Singapore, Shenzhen, France and the Netherlands. Nearly 30 of the more than 150 vacancies are in Ireland. The graph below tracks the rise in these positions over the month of September.

Through a software update Apple has already given customers the option to opt-out of sending Siri recordings back to Apple, and is now following through on its promise to bring the exercise under Apple's own roof.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9