Microsoft contractors listen to Skype calls and Cortana recordings
Thursday, 08 August 2019
Skype allows contractors to listen to conversations recorded for its real-time translator. Credit: Unsplash
Microsoft has allowed contractors to listen to conversations recorded via the Skype automated translation feature and the voice assistant Cortina, Vice magazine reported, citing internal documents, screenshots and audio recordings.
Google, Apple and Amazon had already been put on the spot in the past for allowing employees to listen to recordings made by voice assistants. The accused companies insist they do so in order to eliminate faults in the system.
No personal data is included in what collaborators listen to, but some recordings, however, might contain private information. Vice claimed to have listened to Skype recordings where users discussed personal problems.
In 2015, Skype launched a service that allows users to receive near real-time translations of video or telephone conversations. Microsoft uses artificial intelligence for this, but it now appears that people intervene to improve the system.
Microsoft spokesperson said the company requests customers’ permission before collecting and using voice data. The software giant also specified that only anonymous audio data is available for contractors through a secure online portal. According to a whistle-blower, however, these employees can work from home.