He is said to have listened to drug dealers unsuspecting Apple customers: or eavesdropped on them during sex. Ten months have passed since Thomas le Bonniec went public. The 25-year-old spoke today in the summer of last year the British daily Guardian from the time he worked for Apple in Ireland.
Employed by a subcontractor, le Bonniec said that in 2019, for two months, it listened to thousands of conversations that iPhones and other devices from the US company had recorded with the Siri speech recognition software. Opposed to the Guardian At that time, Apple asked to record a “small part” of Siri queries to improve the software.
Particularly tricky: Sometimes Siri also listened in, although nobody had knowingly activated the service. A technical malfunction if the software incorrectly understands the activation words “Hey Siri”. So sensitive sound recordings ended up at Apple. Le Bonniec said they even gave insight into the medical history of those affected. Not only the owners were heard in the recordings: inside of Apple devices, but also their surroundings.
Whistleblower addresses EU data protection authorities
This week the whistleblower turned to the European data protection authorities. In a letter he accuses Apple of a massive intrusion into the privacy of millions of people. “People talk to Siri every day and are left believing they are talking to a friendly AI. But it is clearly not, ”says le Bonniec. “Siri can act as a spy.”
He accuses the company of continuing to collect relevant data in bulk. In the wake of its unveiling, Apple had promised in 2019 to rethink the process and in future only listen to recordings from customers who had expressly agreed to this.
According to the Austrian daily newspaper STANDARD le Bonniec estimates that Apple has made hundreds of millions of voice recordings. Now he wants the data protection authorities to deal with the case. “I trust you understand that the privacy of millions of people is at stake,” he writes.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, the responsible data protection officer from Ireland has contacted the group in this connection. Apple has not yet answered a request from netzpolitik.org this Friday.