Technologies

Microsoft Contractors Listened to Xbox Voice Calls

Former employees said they mainly processed recordings with children's voices.

Microsoft contractors listened to voice commands to the Xbox. This was announced by Vice with reference to former employees of the company.

Microsoft has been exploring audio from user consoles since the advent of Kinect. Following the release of Xbox One in 2016, contractors listened to requests from Cortana’s voice assistant, who appeared on the console. In July 2019, it was removed from the device.

Contractors said that they received $ 10 per hour for listening to recordings. Basically, they listened to the recordings of children’s voices that asked “to give all the games for free” or “download mods for Minecraft.” Usually users pronounced the names of the same teams or games. Some of the recordings were made by accident – contractors could listen to excerpts of conversations from voice chats or conversations in the room.

In response, Microsoft updated its security policy, indicating that audio can be processed by people. The company also launched a page where users can delete any audio recordings from their set-top box.

The company noted that they did not hide the fact that they process the records with the help of contractors. However, Vice sources said they were asked not to talk about how they work for Microsoft.

In July, Google and Apple admitted that they hired contractors to listen to voice requests from Google Assistant and Siri users. Both companies temporarily stoppedlistening to recordings. On August 7, Vice found out that Microsoft also usescontractors to listen to some of Skype’s calls and requests to Cortana – the company recognized wiretapping and updated its privacy policy.

On August 13, they said on Facebook that they had engaged contractors to decrypt the voice messages of Messenger users. The social network said that they decoded the audio with the consent of users and stopped doing this in August.

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