Apple has always remained rather coy on exactly what they do with your Siri data, but today that was finally clarified by Apple to Wired. It turns out Apple keeps your Siri data for up to two years (so in theory, the earliest Siri interactions are still being stored), however if you disable Siri, all the data is deleted.
Here’s what happens. Whenever you speak into Apple’s voice activated personal digital assistant, it ships it off to Apple’s data farm for analysis. Apple generates a random numbers to represent the user and it associates the voice files with that number. This number — not your Apple user ID or email address — represents you as far as Siri’s back-end voice analysis system is concerned.
Once the voice recording is six months old, Apple “disassociates” your user number from the clip, deleting the number from the voice file. But it keeps these disassociated files for up to 18 more months for testing and product improvement purposes.
“Apple may keep anonymized Siri data for up to two years,” Muller [Apple spokesperson] says “If a user turns Siri off, both identifiers are deleted immediately along with any associated data.”
Tracy Muller also stressed that the data collection is done anonymously. Customer privacy is ‘very important’, she said.
Nevertheless, some want further measures, like American Civil Liberties Lawyer Nicole Ozer:
“There is no good reason for Apple to not include information about privacy practices on their Siri FAQ page”. Transcripts “of what you say to Siri could reveal sensitive things about you, your family, or business,” she added. “Siri works for Apple, so make a note to yourself to really think before you speak.”
It is nice to know exactly how Siri works in terms of voice recognition and storing data, and this should hopefully clear up a lot of concerns that many have. Having said that, as we’ve seen, for some it’s not enough.