Microsoft prefers to disclose instead of stopping
Tech giant these days are coming under public scrutiny for listening to audio recordings of their users, especially those who use virtual assistant services. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook have all felt the issue chipping away their reputation. However, while most of these companies have already claimed to stop the human transcribing program, Microsoft has decided that it would inform the users of the program instead.
The changes have been added to the
“Privacy statement and product FAQs to add greater clarity and will continue to examine further steps we might be able to take.”
Why do tech companies transcribe?
Most tech companies are busy in creating artificial intelligence and machine learning systems that need to be fed humongous volumes of high-quality human data. This helps them establish patterns that could recognize everything from speech patterns to street signs more easily.
However, privacy advocates suggest that sampling private conversations of the users is not ethical. Most recently, contractors who worked for Facebook’s transcribing programs said that they transcribed human data, including some vulgar communications, but had no idea where Facebook collected the data from and why it wanted to use it.
Previously, a Vice report also noted that human reviewers were listening to calls on Skype, which included several conversations, including personal issues and phone sex. While Microsoft has clarified that it won’t stop the human reviewing program, Apple, Google and Facebook haven’t revealed if the program will be resumed in the future. These companies are looking to develop strong AI tools which may need at least some kind of human role. Privacy advocates will have to devise new methods of tackling these issues in the future.