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recordings are microsoft cortana select listening contractors skype calls

tarekma7Microsoft contractors are listening to select Skype calls and Cortana recordings
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Quote:Microsoft does not explicitly say humans listen to the recordings

Microsoft contractors are manually reviewing voice recordings gathered via Skype’s automated translation feature and the Cortana voice assistant, a new report from Motherboard has revealed. In audio recordings shared with the publication, users could be heard having intimate conversations and discussing relationship issues as well as other personal topics like weight loss. “The fact that I can even share some of this with you shows how lax things are in terms of protecting user data,” the contractor who shared the audio files with Motherboard said.

The unnamed contractor describes having heard what they describe as “phone sex” as part of the review process, and they also said that they have heard users entering their full addresses using Cortana commands as well as using the voice assistant to search for pornography.


The contractor pointed out that they didn’t have access to user-identifiable information, but Microsoft customers probably wouldn’t like the fact that their private conversations were being joked about by “random people sitting at home in their pajamas.” Motherboard has since found job listings that confirm that contractors are able to work from home. A spokesperson from Microsoft said that all of its vendors agree to confidentiality agreements, and that Microsoft has audit rights to ensure compliance.

The revelations come after Apple, Amazon, and Google have faced intense scrutiny over their handling of voice data, obtained over the process of operating their respective voice assistants. In light of the revelations, Apple has said that it’s temporarily paused its practice of letting its contractors listen to recordings, while Google has suspended its own program in Europe while regulators investigate the practice. Meanwhile, Amazon now explicitly discloses that humans will manually review voice data, and it gives them the ability to opt out.

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