Personal conversations of Skype users on all topics, including weight loss, phone-sex and Cortana recordings, are under the risk of being heard by Microsoft contractors, according to media reports.
An unnamed Microsoft contractor, who shared recorded audio files with web portal Motherboard, has admitted that they have heard users entering their full addresses using Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana, as well as using the voice assistant to search for pornography.
According to the cache of internal documents, screenshots and audio recordings obtained, the conversations being heard are the ones that use Skype’s translation service. Skype’s website said that the company may analyse the audio of phone calls to translate to improve the chat platform’s services.
However, it does not say some of this analysis will be done by humans.The contractor further pointed out that they did not have access to user-identifiable information. A spokesperson from Microsoft said that all of its vendors agree to confidentiality agreements and that Microsoft has audit rights to ensure compliance.
The revelations come after Apple, Amazon and Google faced scrutiny over handling of voice data obtained over the process of operating their respective voice assistants. Recently, Apple has suspended the programme that lets Siri listen to users’ recordings for “quality control”.