The use of Apple’s Siri has highlighted some privacy concerns and this has caused worry to one of the largest telecommunications company, IBM.
IBM has concerns about where Siri’s commands are stored, how this information is used or can be used in the future and what additional information is sent along with any commands you have issued to Siri, specifically from your contacts list or any other information that is stored in your phone.
With this in mind IBM has banned he use of Siri on its network, although you can take your iPhone 4S to work – Siri will not work.
Siri operates by sending anything that you ask for, or requests made to it, to a data centre bank in North Carolina. After that, no one knows what happens to that information or how it is being stored or protected or deleted or for that matter how long the information will be held.
IBM had this to say:
IBM CIO Jeanette Horan told MIT’s Technology Review this week that her company has banned Siri outright because, according to the magazine, “The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere.” It turns out that Horan is right to worry. In fact, Apple’s iPhone Software License Agreement spells this out: “When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text,” Apple says. Siri collects a bunch of other information — names of people from your address book and other unspecified user data, all to help Siri do a better job.
Apple makes the use of Siri no clearer by its terms and conditions:
“By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and other Apple products and services.”
Edward Wrenbeck, siri’s original lead developer went on to say:
Privacy was always a big concern and the fact that Siri could provide information on your location alone could be enough to violate a non-disclosure agreement. Of course this in no different to many other apps currently available or in fact, the internet in general.
I have a feeling that Siri and concerns over its privacy issues will be raising its head as time goes on – particularly where data protection and location information is concerned.