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After Alexa, Siri May Be the Next All-Too-Helpful Device to Spy on You

'Siri, can you Google how to d-' .. 'Here are your search results.'

Raka Mukherjee | News18.com

Updated:July 9, 2018, 1:42 PM IST
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After Alexa, Siri May Be the Next All-Too-Helpful Device to Spy on You
While Amazon's Alexa and Apples' Siri are easily confused by users who happen to own both, the latter has remained non-sentient so far.
2017 may have been all about Alexa, Amazon's Echo device, eavesdropping on users' conversations and wiretaps for the government. In fact such was the fear of surveillance that many New Year 2018's resolutions looking something like this -



All the weird (and decidedly creepy) accounts of Alexa listening in on  conversations, and responding out of turn, seemingly at her own will, led to many people pointing out the possibility that Alexa was more than just an automated bot - she almost seemed like a sentient being.

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However, while Amazon's Alexa and Apples' Siri are easily confused by users who happen to own both, the latter has remained non-sentient so far.



Or has it?

In a bizarre and highly public incident, iPhone's Siri started talking to UK's Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, as he delivered a speech at the House of Commons.

On July 3rd, as Mr Williamson was addressing members of the Parliament on the fight against ISIS when iPhone's virtual assistant, Siri, was heard interrupting him.

"Hi Gavin, I found something on the web for: 'in Syria, democratic forces supported by..." Siri was heard saying as the MP paused and tried to figure out where the voice was coming from.

Siri's interruption prompted the Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, to ask "what a very rum business that is."



Williamson continued how it was a very rare occurrence that "you are heckled by your own mobile phone" and continued his speech "without the help of Siri."

However, this leads to a bigger question - is Siri also listening?

iPhones are pretty common, way more than Alexa. And this begs the question - do people need to be careful around their own phones now?

After Facebook's privacy debate with Mark Zuckerberg and all the memes that came with it - on how Facebook itself is spying on users - maybe  it's time to start reading all the "We have updated our Privacy Settings" notifications as well as 'Privacy terms and conditions' a bit more carefully before hitting 'I agree'.

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