Apple doesn’t want any part of any unnecessary controversy. However, technology companies can’t always avoid public mishaps. Recently, news leaked that Siri presented significant invasions of privacy to iPhone users. Shockingly, contractors were able to listen in to and record user discussions.
Now, contractors weren’t deliberately trying to hear conversations for their own amusement. The eavesdropping served as part of a quality assurance test. The integrated Siri program relies on audio commands to function. Improvements to Siri, in turn, depend on how quality assurance teams rate the program’s listening performance. How the contractors chose to arrive at assessments raised a firestorm of controversy. The QA team graded how well Siri responded to spoken queries. Unfortunately, users of Siri had no idea quality assurance personnel was listening to their real-life queries. The audio also picked up on conversations outside the direct commands.
The British newspaper the Guardian broke the news about what occurred. The public outcry was immediate and fierce. People don’t like to experience an invasion of privacy. Not surprisingly, Apple quickly responded to the controversy. Apple immediately suspended the grading program. Siri users, at least for now, do not need to worry about privacy issues. A full-blown scandal has been averted.
Technology companies and privacy concerns appear to go hand-in-hand. Facebook recently suffered a $5 billion fine in the aftermath of a massive privacy scandal. The situation at Apple is nowhere near as severe, though. The Apple contractors are guilty of poor judgment as opposed to anything malicious. Regardless, controversies don’t help a corporation’s bottom line. Right now, Apple’s stock has risen on the Dow Jones. The stock dropped down to the $160 level a while ago, and now the price hovers over $205. The last thing Apple wants is a problem driving down valuation. iPhone sales word and the failure of the Apple Watch are slowly fading into the background. The company intends to move forward. Public outcries won’t help that result.