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Just Like Amazon Workers, Microsoft Workers Listen To Translated Skype Calls

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It was revealed that Microsoft workers have access to listen to skype conversations after they have been processed by a translation software, Motherboard Tech reported.

According to the report, contractors working at Microsoft listen to the conversations and audio recordings harvested by the translation software to help improve the performance of the smart app service. Microsoft on its website says that conversations via phone calls may be analysed to improve performance of the chat performance service, it does indicate expressly that these analyses would do conducted by human element.

Data privacy watchdog at Luxemburg is currently in talks with Amazon concerning its Alexa’s recordings made by customers. It was revealed that humans listen to about 1% of the recordings captured in Echo homes to help improve the smart speaker’s recognition accuracy.  Apple and Google have suspended similar checks of audio recordings by humans for their respective Siri and Google Assistant after they both suffered a backlash on the issue.

Apparently, it appears that Microsoft has not been transparent about the way people’s conversations are recorded and how these recordings are used. It’s more like every time you talk over the chat app, someone is invading your privacy.  

A spokesperson told Motherboard that the company maintains transparency as regards the collection of data. He said:

Microsoft collects voice data to provide and improve voice-enabled services like search, voice commands, dictation or translation services. We strive to be transparent about our collection and use of voice data to ensure customers can make informed choices about when and how their voice data is used. Microsoft gets customers permission before collecting and using their voice data.”

He went further in defence that the company does everything to provide strong privacy protections. He told Motherboard that the vendors hired by the company meets high privacy standards. “We also put in place several procedures designed to prioritise users’ privacy before sharing this data with our vendors, including de-identifying data, requiring non-disclosure agreements with vendors and their employees, and requiring that vendors meet the high privacy standards set out in European law.”

Microsoft says it will continue to review its policies to suit the customers, by making options and providing privacy protection. It clarified, however, using human element to review recording help improve the chat app accuracy.

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