Calls on Skype and commands on Cortana ‘not so private anymore’

Microsoft is one of the largest platforms to provide a huge variety of services to users. The digital world we live in is surrounded by a lot of products to bring ease in the life of its users. Different companies focus on providing a variety of new products and services to make users more dependable on technology than ever. Tech companies introduced products like Siri, Google Assistant so that users can even command the digital assistant to do tasks for them.

But along with these new technologies also come the threats of invading user privacy.

The contractors from Microsoft are listening to Skype calls and Cortana recordings but why isn’t anyone saying anything?

Recently, Vice revealed one of the biggest privacy flaw in Microsoft’s new product Cortana, i.e, it’s invading user privacy by enabling employees to listen to Cortana recordings.

To improve the voice recognition of their products and to receive feedback and modify their product, Microsoft contractors are listening to the voice recordings from the Cortana voice assistant and Skype’s automated translation feature as well.

Report by Motherboard (Vice)

According to the report by Motherboard, the employees of Microsoft listen to the intimate recordings of the users of Cortana and Skype data to improve the speech recognition of its products.

An anonymous contractor from Microsoft describes listening to as intimate recordings as of ‘phone sex’ to review the speech recognition ability of its products. According to the contractor, they didn’t have any sort of personal information to identify users but still if strangers listening to your calls don’t creep you out than what does?

Similar issues faced by Apple users

The similar scandal came on the surface regarding Apple employees listening to user calls and commands to improve speech recognition of its products and to this, Apple temporarily paused its process of contractors listening to recordings.

Response from Microsoft

When sources asked Microsoft to respond on the recent scandal regarding their voice Assistants, it responded with documentation that discloses both Skype Translator and Cortana uses voice data to improve its services. According to Microsoft, it uses voice data on an opt-in basis, just to listen to a specific variety of voice data when needed and respond with modification according to that. It is trying to make this firm and data collection as transparent for users as possible so that users can be informed about their voice data and how it is being used. Also, the voice section of Microsoft’s privacy dashboard lets users to manually delete the voice data from the company as well.

Bottom Line

Microsoft is a company known for its unique products that help bring a revolutionary change in the life of its users. The reason behind Microsoft listening to the recording is purely to benefit users with more efficient voice services but the breach of user privacy is it all worth it?

Photo: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Read next: Are companies using old (and vulnerable) operating system of Windows?


  1. Why don't Microsoft employees test voice records of the people by consulting them directly and can find out the mistakes and can develop their apps for better experience

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