Review

Microsoft joins the list of companies that spy on our conversations

Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Facebook and now Cortana, technology companies are listening, recording and transcribing the conversations we have near their devices to improve their intelligent systems. 

One by one they have been recognizing this invasion of privacy as they have been publicly accused from the main international media. The last one has been Microsoft that has included a section warning this practice on Skype and Cortana in its privacy policy.

It seems that this will be the method that all follow, Amazon has also included notice and the option that its customers indicate that they do not want to participate in the process. Google, Facebook, and Apple have stopped listening until they decide what path they take. 

All claim to use these recordings with personal conversations to instruct their artificial intelligence systems and improve their services, but, until now, they had not notified or requested permission from their clients, is a clear example of invasion of privacy. 

Microsoft indicates in its newly updated privacy policy that employees of outsourced companies are analyzing voice fragments of conversations captured by Cortana and Skype. Supposedly, they use these recordings to improve Skype’s instant translation system and the responses of its virtual assistant. 

Employees receive an audio recording and a translation made by Skype’s intelligent system, with this they must indicate what their correct translation would be for the system to correct errors. 

We manually review short fragments of a small sample of voice data, we have taken steps to de-identify them to improve our voice services, such as recognition and translation ” this is a small part of the explanation given in the text found by MotherBoard

However, the sources consulted by this means as an employee of these companies who have had access to some of the recordings ensures that their content is very personal, from sexual issues to personal data of that user. 

Microsoft does not seem interested in stopping listening but has included these indications in its privacy policy to legitimize the process and move forward, for the moment, without giving the option to reject this system and continue using its services. We will see which path the rest of the companies in the technology sector choose.

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