Your personal conversations on Microsoft's Skype may not be so personal.
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A new report by Motherboard revealed that contractors at the tech-giant may be listening to some Skype calls. The documents, screenshots and audio obtained by Motherboard include intimate conversations of people talking about weight loss, chatting about personal issues and discussing relationship problems.
But it does not end there. The unnamed source also told Motherboard some of the things heard could “clearly be described as phone sex.”
The source also said audio files are usually only between five and 10 minutes. However, some may last longer.
Although Skype does warn users it may analyze call audio that a user wants to translate in order to improve the system’s service, it does not specify humans are, in fact, the ones listening in on conversations.
Other files show contractors are listening to voice commands users give to Cortona, Microsoft’s voice assistant software.
In a statement to Motherboard, Microsoft explained its position:
"Microsoft collects voice data to provide and improve voice-enabled services like search, voice commands, dictation or translation services. We strive to be transparent about our collection and use of voice data to ensure customers can make informed choices about when and how their voice data is used. Microsoft gets customers’ permission before collecting and using their voice data."
"We also put in place several procedures designed 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. We continue to review the way we handle voice data to ensure we make options as clear as possible to customers and provide strong privacy protections," the statement added.
Apple consumers are accusing the company of violating consumer privacy in a class-action lawsuit. Similarly to Microsoft, Apple reportedly hired contractors to listen in on private conversations in order to gauge Siri's effectiveness.
Both Apple and Google have since suspended their use of human contractors for audio recordings.