Microsoft Human Contractors Are Listening to Skype Calls

Microsoft human contractors are listening to live audio and video Skype calls through the app’s translation service.

The leak came after tech Motherboard obtained a cache of internal documents, screenshots and audio recordings.

At the time the story broke, Skype’s privacy statement said,
When you use Skype’s translation features, Skype collects and uses your conversation to help improve Microsoft products and services. To help the translation and speech recognition technology learn and grow, sentences and automatic transcripts are analyzed and any corrections are entered into our system, to build more performant services. To help protect your privacy, the conversations that are used for product improvement are indexed with alphanumeric identifiers that do not identify participants to the conversation.”

Today it says;
“When you use Skype’s translation features, Skype collects and uses your conversation to help improve Microsoft products and services. To help the translation and speech recognition technology learn and grow, sentences and automatic transcripts are analyzed and any corrections are entered into our system, to build more performant services. 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.”

Although Skype has gone someway to clarify the situation, they still do not explicitly state that they use human contractors to assess recordings of customers calls.

Apple and Google have recently suspended their use of human contractors for reviewing voice recordings, and Luxembourg data protection watchdog – CNPD is in discussions with Amazon about voice recording processing using Alexa.