In the wake of revelations that Apple has people listening in to some Siri requests, Apple has fired more than 300 contractors in Cork, Ireland. As The Guardian reports those contractors were hired as part of a “grading” program that reviewed audio recorded by Siri. News broke last month that those contractors often heard sensitive information — like medical info, criminal activity and “sexual encounters.” After temporarily suspending the program, Apple has reportedly decided to terminate it.
More contractors throughout Europe may have been let go. As The Guardian reports, many are upset that Apple fired so many people with just one week’s notice. Even those who were concerned with the program’s ethical implications expressed their frustration.
Apple previously promised that “as part of a future software update, users will have the ability to choose to participate in grading.” The company may have been able to add the opt-out capability as soon as the next iOS software update, expected in early October. But its decision to terminate the contractors in Cork suggests it doesn’t plan to continue the program any time soon. While this shows that Apple is taking the issue seriously, the fact that contractors were ever listening to Siri recordings without users’ knowledge goes against its previous privacy claims.