The world’s four major technology giants collectively exposed such scandals.
Microsoft and Google, Amazon, and Apple are among the world’s most valuable companies. Previously, Amazon, Google, and Apple were exposed to recordingsmonitoring scandals. As the current technology company with the market value, Microsoft has not fallen. It seems that recording monitors seem to be the standard for technology giants.
According to the US news site Vice Reports, Microsoft Outsourcing Chamber of Commerce listens to Skype users and Cortana users. These audio content includes intimate conversations between couples, talking about weight loss and other personal issues.
In 2015, Skype launched a translation service that allows users to perform real-time audio translations over calls and video calls. The audio clips obtained by Vice are mostly short and last between 5 and 10 seconds. The insider said that other clips may be longer.
When Microsoft provides a piece of audio to outsourcers, they also receive a series of content generated by the Skype translation system. The outsourcer then chooses the most accurate translations or provides their own translations. These audios are considered confidential by Microsoft. Microsoft said it only provides audio data to outsourcers through a secure online portal, and the company takes steps to remove personally identifiable information such as user or device identification numbers.
But according to Vice, although this information is sensitive, some of the outsourcers are listening to and processing Skype and Cortana audio at home, which is not a safe handling environment.
The Microsoft spokesperson responded: “Microsoft collects voice data to provide and improve voice services such as search, voice commands, dictation or translation services. We strive to be transparent in collecting and using voice data. To ensure that customers clearly choose when and how to use their voice data. Microsoft will be licensed by the customer before collecting and using the customer’s voice data.”
This is very similar to the scandals of Google, Amazon, and Apple, and both involve voice assistants. The four companies all claimed that the move was to improve the understanding of the voice assistant. In terms of operation methods, external contractors were hired to use manual monitoring, and said that only a few voice clips were used (Apple said it used less than 1% of the data, Google said it would only listen to about 0.2% of the audio clips).
In the previous article, we analyzed this, In some technologies involving AI, technology companies often need a large amount of data as a support, but only if they obtain the consent of the user to make clear the flow and use of the data. Otherwise, even the original intention of improving the user experience also violates the user’s right to know about the flow of personal information. But the above four technology companies apparently failed to follow this. And this is where the crux lies.
Vice cites Frederike Kaltheuner, head of data development at Privacy International. She believes that companies should be 100% transparent about how people record their conversations and how they are used. If the user’s voice sample (for whatever reason) is subject to manual review, the system should ask you if you agree, or at least let you opt out.