Siri, are you spying on me?


IBM, a well-known technological firm as reported recently their action towards banning Siri for use in their business network. Reports and statements show what many of us may have neglected to notice: using Siri sends what we say to Apple’s Cloud servers and records it for future use.

This may not be a problem for a few questions about the weather or a few recipe searches, but it certainly becomes a worry in the corporate world, where Siri can be used to make emails and text messages pertaining to company secrets or advances. IBM’s fear of corporate espionage has been the greatest bane in their recent “bring your own device” campaign. As such, every ‘new’ device that the employee brings in for work is encrypted and set up so that it can be remotely wiped if necessary. They also block access to Cloud services such as Siri and Dropbox.

This recent incident has made many people more aware of a certain issue. Are the Cloud services, like Siri, spying on you? In the most paranoid way possible, the answer is definitely yes. Although, this would not be the first time this has been done. Contrary to people’s beliefs, many of our electronic devices, mainly computing devices that connect to the net, all have some sort of data gathering clause in their license agreement. Consumer data has always been a very vital source of inspiration for product development of many companies. They have long since saved data on the “Cloud” and viewed them to further understand if their services are helping people, and if there are any clues to what more they can do to recapture the same audience in a different product.

Recent technology has further improved on that though. Now it is no longer simply about a crash log, or a satisfaction form, or system usage logs that are sent to our precious suppliers. Their cloud services now include adding your indirect thoughts in their list of data sources. We send them our questions, our interests, our messages, our emails, our files. Whatever we use the cloud services for, it gets stored in some way. So again, the answer to the question “Siri, are you spying on me?” is a definite yes, as Siri is a cloud service, and like any of cloud services, the data is most certainly stored in a server somewhere.

What do we do? Stop using these services? The answer lies within each and every user. If you are comfortable with the data you share, or merely feel like the convenience posted by these services are well worth the data they get, then go right ahead. For those that say no, remember that these have been happening for a while now, one way or another. There may not be a way out of this anymore without going back to the caves.