Third-party Microsoft contractors listen to some of the calls made by Skype users who use the built-in translator. About this, several contractors told thepublication Motherboard on condition of anonymity.
Fragments of user calls that were at the disposal of the editorial office contain talk about relationships and other confidential topics. The source of the publication noted that contractors do not have access to information with which you can identify users.
The fact that I can share some audio recordings with the publication shows how poorly protected user data is.
Microsoft anonymous contractor
An interactive translator is integrated into the Skype client for computers. It translates the speech of the interlocutors into the given language during the call and displays it in the form of text. Since 2016, the service supports the Russian language.
The translator works on the basis of machine learning and improves as it is used, according to the developers. A Motherboard source said that contractors get fragments of conversations and translation options from which you need to choose the most accurate one. If the translation from the algorithm is not suitable, the contractors write the translation themselves.
A Microsoft representative explained to the publication that before collecting and using voice data, the company asks for user permission, and when sending it to contractors, “does everything to remove identifying data.” According to the representative, the service documentation clearly states that Microsoft uses voice data to improve its services.
In August 2019, Apple around the world suspended Siri’s quality control program, during which contractors listened to some user requests. The company promised to release an update that will allow users to choose for themselves whether their requests will be sent for verification.
In July 2019, Google temporarily stopped listening to Google Assistant users’ posts in the European Union. Then the journalists received from several contractors records of calls to the company’s voice assistant, after which Google launched an internal investigation into the leak.