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After Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook now Microsoft admits that its contractors listen to Skype and Cortana recordings

The tech giant says it will keep reviewing the user’s recordings

Technology giant Microsoft listens to the voice recording of its users collected by Skype’s automated translation feature as well as the Cortana voice assistant. As per a new report by Motherboard, it reveals that audio snippets of users having personal talks like weight loss relationship issues and more are being manually reviewed by the company’s contractors. In fact, a company’s contractor even shared a few recording files with the publication that the users can be heard having an intimate discussion.

We should mention that this is not the first case of such a thing happening. Earlier Apple, Google, Facebook as well as Amazon were also found to be listening to voice recording of the users that were captured by the voice assistant devices. But now all the mentioned brands have either suspended the human review processes or have come up with an opt-out option.

Microsoft has now even admitted that its employees listen to audio recordings and it even updated its privacy policy that states that the company’s contractors may possibly listen to the audio recordings that Cortana or Skype captures. The issue was reported after Motherboard discovered that human employees were found to be listening to audio recordings of both the services. These included sensitive as well as personal conversations of the users derived from a cache of leaked documents, screenshots and audio recordings.

Previously both Microsoft, as well as Skype privacy policy, did not mention in its FAQ that its contractors may hear the audio of the customers that is captured with the intention of improving the service. Microsoft has also updated both pages and others on its website.

The company’s privacy policy now reads “Our processing of personal data for these purposes includes both automated and manual (human) methods of processing. Our automated methods often are related to and supported by our manual methods. For example, our automated methods include artificial intelligence (AI), which we think of as a set of technologies that enable computers to perceive, learn, reason, and assist in decision-making to solve problems in ways that are similar to what people do.”

Even the Skype’s FAQ now reads, “This may include transcription of audio recordings by Microsoft employees and vendors, subject to procedures designed to protect users’ privacy, including taking steps to de-identify data, requiring non-disclosure agreements with vendors and their employees, and requiring that vendors meet the high privacy standards set out in European law and elsewhere.”

On top of that, Cortana’s support page now also has a similar paragraph as does Microsoft support page. The company also does not allow its users to delete the recordings that are made with a dedicated online tool. As we mentioned earlier also other companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon now allow its users to opt-out of such programs, however, Microsoft says that it will keep using the service for the time being.

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