A major scandal this summer, probably 2019 — listening technology companies voice messages to the user. Just a month in such “hobby” was convicted of virtually all of the major players in the market.

Not far behind from its competitors in this regard and Microsoft, which analyzes the information received from the voice assistant Microsoft, Cortana and Skype Translator. Here we use currently, as the Corporation continues to do unlike other caught the hand of the companies suspend questionable activities, says Vice.

The journalists received the documents, which say exactly how to build the work: classification of the received data, a guide to punctuation, etc. Some of the contractors, who requested anonymity, said that most of his work was focused on commenting and interpretation of commands to Cortana.

The norm for workers was at least 200 audio messages per hour. Some of them contained personal and confidential information. Charges for a job varies: one contractor was receiving $12 per hour with opportunity to increase the reward to $13 as a bonus, while the second contract included other amounts of $14 and $15 respectively.

One of the sections of the training materials on how to pronounce the command “Hey, cortana” (it launches the assistant) in different languages and accents, including German, Chinese, Japanese, and Australian, canadian languages and to American English. Microsoft demanded that contractors have always deciphered the assistant’s name correctly — even if the user said “Cortona” or “Cortina”, in the records indicates just “cortana”. Why? So, according to developers, to maximize the chances of the activation assistant.

There are tasks that we need to clearly define their own names, which belong to the contact or other personal information, said the contractor.

The updated policy

Publishing contacted Microsoft, and its representative were quick to make a statement. As stated in the letter, the company is committed to improve transparency and help customers make a more informed choice.

Microsoft has confirmed that the client uses content from Cortana and Skype Translator to improve these products and attracts third parties. for this We have taken steps for de-identification of that content to protect the private life of people, — said the representative.

At the same time, shortly after the publication of Microsoft hastened to correct privacy policy and support page, Skype Translator and Cortana. Now the explanation of how collected and used conversations made using, for example, Skype Translator, a line stating that the process “may include a transcript of audio recordings by employees or vendors, Microsoft processes designed to protect user privacy”.

We have updated our privacy statement and frequently asked questions about products, to add more clarity, and we will continue to explore further steps that we could take, — commented on the update, a company representative.

Thus, concerned users may delete the voice message. This will require a special online tool that is designed not only for Skype and Cortana, but also allows you to clean data of other applications, services, and search queries.

All the fuss is about with listening to the recordings started in mid-July after the recognition of a product Manager, Google David Monsey. He said that the company is cooperating with linguists who analyze the part of voice commands from the Google Assistant and speaker Google Home. All this is done to improve the operation of the service, but one of the language of the reviewers has violated the security policy and leaked confidential audio in Dutch.

Next on stage came the Apple. In Cupertino have suspended the program for quality control of Siri, which allowed the contractors to listen to anonymous user requests to determine whether voice assistant hears the questions of whether you run it in error and so on. In the future, Apple has promised to release a software update that will allow users to opt out of inclusion itself to check.

The third was Amazon, with its Alexa voice assistant. The company allowed users to disable the possibility of listening to voice recordings of employees of the company and its contractors. The developers also said that in the framework of supervised learning process is the extremely low number of recordings (with the consent of the user) is processed by staff in person.

Facebook, who was unsuccessful the whole of last year and became the face of the extensive material News.ru the results of the year, distinguished, and this time she paid for a transcript of voice messages users of the services of the company. This process was disturbed by contractors who claim that they didn’t know where was recorded the audio or how it was received.

User accounts sometimes includes vulgar content, and they do not know why the company needed a transcript. Facebook, in turn, confirmed the said contractors, but were assured that after the incidents with other companies, it ceased to engage in voice communications since the beginning of August 2019.

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