Two features in the newly introduced iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been raising concerns among privacy advocates and enthusiasts alike. The new Live Photos feature, and the company’s always-on ‘Hey Siri’ hotword detection functionality, are not sitting well with many. Apple has addressed these concerns, and assured users that their data is secure and encrypted.
The Cupertino-based company, which markets privacy and security sophistication in its devices as a headline feature, was under fire for the Live Photos and Hey Siri features compromising user data and privacy. Live Photos stitches together three seconds of motion before and after one takes a picture. But because of its nature, the app begins capturing information as soon as one opens the camera app.
Apple has assured that these automatically captured images or the motion isn’t permanently saved to the user’s device or the cloud or any other place for that matter. “Although the camera is ‘recording’ while you’re in Live Photo mode, the device will not save the 1.5 seconds before until you press the camera button,” said Apple. “The pre-captured images are not saved to the user’s device nor are they sent off the device.”
“We treat privacy and security of Live Photos the same that we do for existing Photos and Videos. They don’t leave the device for any reason unless you purposely share it or elect to use iCloud,” added the company.
Regarding the new capability in iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus wherein a user can say ‘Hey Siri’ and begin sending off voice commands even when the phone is not plugged into a power source, the company assured that it is not recording and sending what a user says in front of the device. “In no case is the device recording what the user says or sending that information to Apple before the feature is triggered,” said Apple.
“The “listening” audio, which will be continuously overwritten, will be used to improve Siri’s response time in instances where the user activates Siri,” it added. “If a user chooses to turn off Siri, Apple will delete the User Data associated with the user’s Siri identifier, and the learning process will start all over again,” says Apple.