LONDON – Contractors in Cork, Ireland were expected to listen to 1,000 Siri recordings per shift, a former employee alleged Thursday. They were hired to “grade” the recordings.
Listening to Siri Recordings ‘a Breach of Privacy’
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the former employee said:
I understood the reasons why the company was doing it but I could see why people would feel it was a breach of privacy because they weren’t telling people.
“We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement when we started that meant we couldn’t talk about what we did in detail. We were not allowed to say we worked for Apple,” an ex-employee told the newspaper. Siri user’s details were kept anonymous. However, contractors “would hear personal data or snippets of conversations” occasionally.
Hundreds of Staff Made Redundant
The contractors worked for a firm called Globetech. It appears up to 300 employees were let go after Apple stopped grading Siri recordings. Apple informed the company on August 17 that it was stopping transcription and voice grading work. In a statement issued last week, Globetech CEO Kevin Kelly described it as “a difficult situation for everyone involved.”
An Apple spokesperson commented:
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.