Microsoft contractors listen to Xbox users’ chats


Microsoft contractors have listened to voice recordings made by owners of its Xbox One console, according to Motherboard. Like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple, which have all been charged with secretly listening to private recordings, Microsoft listened in on audio recordings from Cortana (on Windows) and listened to Skype calls when people users the app’s language translation feature.

Motherboard spoke to several Microsoft contractors who said they were hired by the company to review Xbox and Cortana voice commands to improve its services and voice recognition. Many of these Xbox recordings were intentional, with users commanding the Xbox One to perform a certain action, but others were conversations that should have never been recorded and during which the command was clearly not given.

Microsoft contractors listen to your audio clips
As details of the scope of violations of privacy emerge, widespread distrust has turned to outrage, and tech companies are being forced to allay public concerns.

Earlier this month Apple took the decision to suspend a Siri program that allows workers to listen to audio recordings for quality control purposes.

Google and Amazon have both taken measures to make their policies on human reviews of voice assistant audio clearer. Amazon has now added a toggle that will allow Alexa users to opt-out of potentially having their voice recordings and/or recorded message transcripts reviewed by human workers.