Skype Preview Translator Microsoft

Microsoft has confirmed that its contractors may listen to Skype translator calls and Cortana queries. The information comes via a quiet update to its privacy after Motherboard was provided audio and information by one of those contractors.

“The fact that I can even share some of this with you shows how lax things are in terms of protecting user data,” the person said at the time. Microsoft’s privacy policy and Skype Translator FAQ now reflect this information, noting:

“This may include transcription of audio recordings by Microsoft employees and vendors, subject to procedures designed to protect users’ privacy, including taking steps to de-identify data, requiring non-disclosure agreements with vendors and their employees, and requiring that vendors meet the high privacy standards set out in European law and elsewhere.”

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The tech giant updated the page for Cortana similarly. It’s worth noting that the company lets users delete their audio recording via a dedicated privacy tool. In Windows, they can disable the saving of speech collection for Cortana, but it disables the digital assistant.

Microsoft previously told ZDNet strives to be transparent with its data collection but a spokesperson since admitted to Motherboard, “We realized, based on questions raised recently, that we could do a better job specifying that humans sometimes review this content.”

Unlike some other tech companies, Microsoft doesn’t stick exclusively to AI when it comes to content review. It doesn’t plan to change that just yet and says contactors must promise to maintain confidentiality.

Of course, while contracting companies can promise confidentially, they can’t control the actions of all their employees. That’s clearly evidenced by the data shared with the Motherboard, so strict measures must be implemented to stop information leaving the site. Its change to the privacy policy now also doesn’t erase the data that has been listened to while users were unaware.

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