Microsoft has admitted that its contractors listen to user conversations on Skype and with its digital assistant Cortana. In response to an investigation by Vice’s Motherboard that found the company shared audio snippets of users discussing personal issues such as weight loss and talking intimately with loved ones with contractors, the company said contractors listen only to improve translation features, and only with users’ permission. “Microsoft collects voice data to provide and improve voice-enabled services like search, voice commands, dictation or translation services,” the company said in a statement. “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.” Apple and Google recently suspended human review of voice recordings made by their digital assistants, Siri and Google Assistant, for similar privacy issues.
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