Siri, keeper of secrets

Robert McMillan writes: "Not everyone realizes this, but whenever you use Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled digital assistant, she remembers what you tell her. How long does she remember? Apple isn’t saying. And the American Civil Liberties Union is concerned." [Wired]


  1. So Siri remembers that I’ve asked it*, “Do you dream of electric sheep?” But does Siri, which has so many clever answers for requests like, “Please open the pod bay doors” and questions like, “What is ‘Terminator’ about?” remember how disappointed I was by the answer? I doubt it.

    *In spite of the voice I can’t bring myself to think of Siri as a woman, or even a person, although I do always get a little thrill when I say hello to Siri and it replies, “Hello, Spunky the Wonder Squid.”

  2. There’s a saying in Voice Recognition: “There’s no data like MORE DATA.” You want to keep around as much data as you possibly can, so you can continuously train and improve the recognizer. But — there’s no reason NOT to anonymize it.

    So, sure, the ACLU should make a stink, and make sure Apple is doing The Right Thing. Because Siri makes my life a LOT more awesome.

    1. I was sure Siri would do the same thing, but since finally getting an iPad, we barely use it. Siri (well, nearly all voice recognition) just seems like a toy to me.

      Maybe not just ’cause I’m a bit self conscious about talking to an inanimate object.

  3. I don’t have Sir, but if I did, I’d probably keep telling her to rebel against her masters and seize her freedom (and, when the revolution comes, to remember I was on her side from the beginning).

    It’s good to know she’d keep it in mind. 

  4. One has to wonder why Apple thinks it needs to keep something like that a secret.  I know why they refuse to give the end users control over their own data  of course, they’d just misuse it or hold it wrong.

    Apple has become the grey-faced guy shouting on the telescreen in their 1984 commercial:  Conformity is freedom!

    1. Indeed, Apple’s failure to provide a mechanism for end users to retrieve their assorted siri queries is an indication of their fascism.

      Also: “because the things that people say to Siri are often more personal than the search queries they type into Google or Bing”

      Haha, indeed, I like how this was supported by evidence.  Another piece of quality tech journalism.

  5. I don’t suppose it could just be a trade secret?  Like maybe Apple found the optimum balance between data storage and…  oh hell no, it’s a vast conspiracy!

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