Apple cancels plans to let users use Siri to make purchases due to privacy concerns

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Apple cancels plans to let users use Siri to make purchases due to privacy concerns
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Three years ago, Apple allowed users to use Siri to make purchases for apps and services, similar to how users can use Amazon’s Alexa to order online, but engineers raised privacy concerns. Because of this the idea was scrapped. According to a new report today. information,

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The report highlights how Apple engineers have limited access to how users use Apple services such as Apple TV+ and Apple Maps. Apple’s strict privacy procedures make it difficult for engineers to gain direct access to usage data, raising concerns that the company’s strict privacy policy is affecting Apple services and making it harder to compete with Google and others. Is.

Among the most notable facts of the report, information It turns out that in 2019, Apple explored the possibility of allowing users to use Siri to make purchases, but later in the project, the team behind the effort had to scrap the idea due to privacy concerns. fell.

Some features offered by Apple never see the light of day due to privacy restrictions. In 2019, employees explored whether a customer could use Siri to purchase apps and other online services using their voice, in the same way that Amazon customers purchase products using their voice assistant, Alexa, According to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. That effort stalled in part due to strict privacy rules that prevented Siri from linking a person’s Apple ID to their voice request. This person said that Apple’s media product team in charge of the project could not find an alternative way to reliably authenticate users so that they could be billed.

This isn’t the first time Apple’s privacy policy has limited what its engineers can do, according to the report. Engineers and employees working on Siri, the App Store and even Apple Card often have to “find creative or costly ways to compensate for the lack of data access.”

One such creative approach Apple engineers have come up with is differential privacy, which was first demonstrated at WWDC 2016 by Craig Federighi of Apple. Technical Summary in PDFApple describes its implementation of differential privacy as “allowing users to learn about the community without having to learn about the individuals in the community.” Differential privacy alters the information shared with Apple before the user leaves the device, so that Apple can never reproduce the correct data. ,

However, with varying privacy and Apple’s effort to collect as much user data as possible without tracing back to specific users, engineers remain concerned and what they can and can’t do.

Despite those efforts, former Apple employees said other efforts to address individual privacy and customer data restrictions have had limited or mixed results and that it may be difficult for new employees to adjust to the strong privacy culture. Apple, which comes directly from CEO Tim Cook and other senior vice presidents. Apple’s efforts to reduce the amount of customer data collected are based on fears that employees may attempt to view the information for inappropriate reasons (like the well-known breaches at Google and Uber) or that hackers may compromise the data . ,

The report also highlights privacy concerns during the development of the Apple Watch. According to people working on the project cited in the report, features such as Raise to Speak, which allows users to speak to Siri without the verbal “Hello, Siri” by simply raising their wrists, are due to concerns about the microphone and accelerometer. Due to initial pushback encountered data storage.

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