Siri is listening to you, but she’s NOT spying, says Apple

“Are our iPhones eavesdropping on us? How else would Siri hear us say ‘Hey, Siri’ other than if she were constantly listening?” Lisa Vaas reports for Sophos. “That’s what Congress wondered, and it wanted Apple to explain. It also wanted to know about how much location data iPhones are storing and handing over about us.”

“So the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook,” Vaas reports. “On Tuesday, Apple responded. Much of the response letter translates into ‘We Are Not Google! We Are Not Facebook!'”

“And no, Siri is not eavesdropping. The letter went into specifics about how iPhones can respond to voice commands without actually eavesdropping. It has to do with locally stored, short buffers that only wake up Siri if there’s a high probability that what it hears is the ‘Hey, Siri’ cue.,” Vaas reports. “A buffer is a chunk of audio that’s continually recorded over and thus, by definition, isn’t archived. In short, ‘always listening’ is pretty restricted: an iPhone has only a short amount of recorded audio at any time. That audio is only used to identify the trigger phrase ‘Hey Siri,’ and it’s only stored locally.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, Apple isn’t Google (evidence listed below) and people who put Google Home devices in their homes are nuts.

This ‘don’t be evil’ mantra: It’s bullshit.Steve Jobs, 2010

Apple refutes conspiracy theory that claims iPhones ‘listen’ to conversations – August 8, 2018
New Android malware records ambient audio, fires off premium-rate texts, and harvests files, photos, contacts, and more – March 2, 2018
How Google is secretly recording Android settlers, monitoring millions of conversations every day and storing the creepy audio files – August 22, 2017
Android apps secretly tracking users by listening to inaudible sound hidden in ads – May 8, 2017
Edward Snowden: No matter what, do not use Google’s new Allo messenger app – September 23, 2016
Apple’s iOS 11 will deliver even more privacy to users – June 8, 2017
Google to pay $5.5 million for sneaking around Apple’s privacy settings to collect user data – August 31, 2016
Apple takes a swing at privacy-tampling, personal data-guzzling rivals like Google – September 29, 2015
Apple reinvents the privacy policy – September 29, 2015
Apple: Hey Siri and Live Photos data stays only on your device to ensure privacy – September 12, 2015
Apple issues iPhone manifesto; blasts Android’s lack of updates, lack of privacy, rampant malware – August 10, 2015
Edward Snowden supports Apple’s stance on customer privacy – June 17, 2015
Mossberg: Apple’s latest product is privacy – June 12, 2015
Apple looks to be building an alternative to the Google-branded, hand-over-your-privacy ‘Internet Experience’ – June 11, 2015
Understanding Apple and privacy – June 8, 2015
Edward Snowden: Apple is a privacy pioneer – June 5, 2015
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple slams Google in Safari 7.1 release notes: ‘Adds DuckDuckGo, a search engine that doesn’t track users’ – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
Google to pay $17 million to settle U.S. states’ Safari user tracking probe – November 20, 2013
Judge dismisses case against Google over Safari user tracking – October 11, 2013
UK Apple Safari users sue Google for secretly tracking Web browsing – January 28, 2013
Google pays $22.5 million to settle charges of bypassing Apple Safari privacy settings – August 9, 2012
US FTC votes to fine Google $22.5 million for bypassing Safari privacy settings; Settlement allows Google to admit no liability – July 31, 2012
Google’s D.C. lobbyists have outspent Apple nearly 10 to 1 so far this year – July 23, 2012
Google to pay $22.5 million to settle charges over bypassing privacy settings of millions of Apple users – July 10, 2012
Apple’s anti-user tracking policy has mobile advertisers scrambling – May 9, 2012
Google said to be negotiating amount of U.S. FTC fine over Apple Safari breach – May 4, 2012
Cookies and privacy, Google and Safari – February 25, 2012
Obama’s privacy plan puts pinch on Google – February 24, 2012
Obama administration outlines online privacy guidelines – February 23, 2012
Google sued by Apple Safari-user for bypassing browser privacy – February 21, 2012
Google responds to Microsoft over privacy issues, calls IE’s cookie policy ‘widely non-operational’ – February 21, 2012
Google’s tracking of Safari users could prompt FTC investigation – February 18, 2012
WSJ: Google tracked iPhone, iPad users, bypassing Apple’s Safari browser privacy settings; Microsoft denounces – February 17, 2012


  1. When a website has lots of flashy and annoying google ads, i bet these google ads are tracking and monitoring the user. Which i why i visit websites with google ads only from my work PC, never my mac book pro at home. I cannot anyway, because the firewall says i need to switch off ads block and that the ad block it is hurting someone financially. BAH HUMBUG

  2. But Apple states it cannot ensure privacy from 3rd party apps or from Google AdSense infected websites like MDN:

    In Apple’s words: “Apple does not and cannot monitor what developers do with the customer data they have collected, or prevent the onward transfer of that data, nor do we have the ability to ensure a developer’s compliance with their own privacy policies or local law.”

    Bottom line: Apple’s walled garden doesn’t protect the user from wall breaches from outside. The wall only protects Apple.

  3. Oh yay! I’m verifiably nuts, then. Google Assistant is still much more reliable than Siri probably ever will be.

    Devin Prater Assistive Technology Instructor certified by World Services for the Blind JAWS certified


  4. “Siri is listening to you, but she’s NOT spying, says Apple”

    What’s that Clinton comment he made about marijuana..
    I smoked it but didn’t inhale it. Why else would you listen in the first place?

  5. We only use apple products at home (iphone, ipad, apple tv, macs, apple watch( and it is funny how when I was complaining about walmart, the fist ad I saw in youtube was a walmart ad.
    and that has happen with some other brands.
    At least apple spies for advertising purposes only, no to steal information like credit card numbers and things like that like google or facebook.

  6. It is actually the M-series silicon that recognizes the command Hey, Siri and wakes up the Siri. So now it is not Siri who is listening to you… It is Siris cat that is listening to you. 😆

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