Sci-tech

Microsoft contractors may have heard your translated Skype calls

Microsoft contractors may have heard your translated Skype calls”

About hearing phone calls, Skype's website said that the company may analyse the audio of phone calls that a user wants to translate to improve the chat platform's services. Recently, Vice revealed one of the biggest privacy flaw in Microsoft's new product Cortana, i.e, it's invading user privacy by enabling employees to listen to Cortana recordings.

"I generally feel like that while we do not have access to user identifiable information, that if Microsoft users were aware that random people sitting at home in their pajamas who could be joking online with friends about the stuff they just heard that they wouldn't like that".

However, the whistleblower says the recordings he listened to included phone sex, full addresses, and pornography queries sent to Cortana. Previously published reports have suggested that the human workers are also listening in on recordings from Google Assistant, Amazon's Alexa, and Apple's Siri.

Microsoft is now under scrutiny after a contractor revealed that they are listening to some Cortana interactions and Skype conversations.

Contractors working for Microsoft are listening to personal, intimate conversations of Skype users via the app's translation service, according to a new report.

"People use Skype to call their lovers, interview for jobs, or connect with their families overseas", Frederike Kaltheuner, data exploitation program lead at activist group Privacy International, said in an online chat with Vice.

Skype Translator is an optional feature within Skype explained in this FAQ and use of voice data in Cortana is explained here.

A Microsoft contractor shared a cache of files with Motherboard, saying: "The fact that I can even share some of this with you shows how lax things are in terms of protecting user data".

"We also put in place several procedures created to prioritize users' privacy before sharing this data with our vendors, including de-identifying 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 if a sample of your voice is going to human review (for whatever reason) the system should ask them whether you are ok with that, or at least give you the option to opt out". Both are clear we use voice data to improve the service. Other files obtained by Motherboard show that Microsoft contractors are also listening to voice commands that users speak to Cortana, the company's voice assistant.

Go to the voice section of Microsoft's Privacy dashboard. Microsoft's statement also argued that it does get permission for collecting and using voice data.

From the My Activity tab on the Privacy page, scroll down to Voice activity.



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