Jeff Kagan: Why Apple Violates User Privacy with Siri

Jeff Kagan  |

Image: iStock.com/peterhowell

Apple has been listening to you. No, really. Siri has been violating your privacy and has been doing so for years. And they never let you know. This AI technology only responds when you use words like “Hey Siri”, but it’s always listening. Apple [ (AAPL)] finally admitted it as they stopped the practice, for now.

And Apple is not alone. Google Android [ (GOOGL)] does the same thing with their AI which goes under different names depending on the device. We used to think it was only the AI devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa [ (AMZN)] that were always listening. The truth is we are surrounded by a growing number of AI devices which all invade our privacy.

This is bad enough. An even larger problem is, no one told us about it.

In fact, it’s not just smartphones like iPhone and Android, or AI devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo, but its other companies as well. Think Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media companies that secretly invade our privacy.

Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Android, Cortana also invade privacy

To their credit, these companies don’t think they are invading our privacy. Instead, they think they are just continuing to improve the performance of their technology. Fair enough. Let’s just say they only wanted to improve the service and didn’t mean to invade our privacy.

However, whatever you want to call it, the problem still exists… our privacy is being invaded. Period!

Don’t get me wrong. I like Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft [ (MSFT]) and the growing number of companies that use AI to expand the services they offer and the things we can do. That’s all terrific and like everyone else, I am fully behind this revolution.

However, what I am not supportive of is the secrecy under which they operate. One, the way they violate user privacy, and two, how they do it without informing the marketplace. That is both insulting and a clear lack of respect for their users.

Secretly invading privacy is wrong and is insulting to users

Why didn’t they just tell us they were working on advanced technology to make our lives better, which by the way also means they are always listening in and violating our privacy? The invasion still would have occurred, but at least they wouldn’t look like they broke the trust of their users.

Because they kept this secret, it is a violation of our human rights. And to make matters worse, this problem is not just with one company, but seemingly all the companies in the space. Shame on every one of them who do this terrible thing.

At least Apple seems to understand they are stepping on the toes of their customers. So, they say they now understand and have stopped listening. If that’s true, then that’s a good step in the right direction. Thank you, Apple.

However, what’s to stop them from doing the same thing next year. And if they do, will they tell us this time? And what about the other companies who don’t seem to have any concern over their customers rights to privacy today?

Choice: Either do the right thing or government will impose rules

We are moving ahead into a very dangerous place. There are two sides. One side is good and the other, not so good. It’s a battle between the amazing new technology and the violation of our privacy rights.

What companies should do is move ahead with their AI technology, but also be open and honest with their customers and the marketplace. Simply do not abuse users. Do not invade user privacy.

If companies continue down this self-destructive path, the government will eventually step in and create new rules that every company has to follow. And when the government gets involved it’s like using a hedge-cutter instead of a scalpel for surgery.

US government rules are like a chain-saw, not a scalpel

I hope companies can understand that they are on the edge right now. They have the opportunity to fix this problem and do the right thing. If not, the US government sledgehammer will come crashing down on them.

Like you, I love AI and all the new technology. I love writing about and talking about it. It is changing our lives and will continue to do just that. However, only a very few companies seem to care about user privacy.

We must protect our personal privacy. Because once we lose it, we lose it forever. And that’s a step too far for all of us. So, let’s be responsible.

There can still be an enormous transformation in our lives with new AI technology without the violation of our individual personal privacy. Something every executive in every company needs to think about before it’s too late. Do the right thing!


Jeff Kagan is an Equities.com columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, Influencer, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, pay TV, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay and communications technology. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.

Equities Contributor: Jeff Kagan

Source: Equities News

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not represent the views of equities.com.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

I am a holder of the following securities mentioned in this article : none

Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
GOOGL Alphabet Inc. 1,179.21 9.89 0.85 1,265,187 Trade
GOOG Alphabet Inc. 1,177.60 10.34 0.89 1,349,436 Trade
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 136.13 2.45 1.83 25,026,151 Trade
AAPL Apple Inc. 206.50 4.76 2.36 28,813,624 Trade
AMZN Amazon.com Inc. 1,792.57 16.45 0.93 3,054,240 Trade

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