On Your Side Alert: Siri Collecting user data

Published: Jun. 28, 2013 at 4:12 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2013 at 3:54 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you use Siri, privacy experts say you need to be concerned. Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant stores your commands and keeps them for years.

If you have Siri, you probably thought it was pretty cool. Just ask your phone a question or give it a command and Siri goes to work. What you may not know is that it collects that data and stores it for two years. University of Richmond Law Professor, Jim Gibson says if you use Siri, there's not much you can do to change it. "I think if you don't like it, the answer is not to use Siri," he says.

In Tech reports, Apple has said the data it collects is anonymous and is used to enhance Siri. "The good thing about Siri is that it doesn't actually tie your individual identification to the search, instead it takes you and other people like you, in that location and aggregates that for their use," Gibson explains.

Cyber Expert, DJ Rivera says while Apple claims data collected from Siri is anonymous, it wouldn't take much to tie the results back to you. "There is an identifier. It doesn't identify the person but it identifies the device and obviously, if you use Apple services, you have provided your information," Rivera explains.

We reached out to Apple about why it keeps data from Siri. The company declined to comment, so we tried the next best thing, we asked Siri. There was no answer from Siri either but it does provide dozens of article about the topic. "The information is there, it is just a question of whether someone, law enforcement, or just another person, will try to eventually get that information out of Apple," Rivera says.

He also says consumers shouldn't be too surprised. Rivera says keep in mind, when you became an Apple customer, you singed a privacy policy explaining how the company collects and uses your information. "Everybody just goes through it and clicks agree. The only one thing that you need to know is that whatever you do on the internet, someone else somewhere, has the ability to monitor it," he says.

This is just a reminder that if you really want to keep something private, you may not want to ask Siri. "Like your search history on your internet browser or what you put on Facebook, remember that in general, stuff lives for much longer than you would think in the online world.," Gibson explains.

Keep in mind you can disable Siri. You can find that information in your settings options. Once you turn off Siri, Apple's Privacy Policy says it will delete user data and any recent voice input data.

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