Microsoft contractors might listen to your Skype calls

by Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
Radu Tyrsina has been a Windows fan ever since he got his first PC, a Pentium III (a monster at that time). For most of the kids of... read more
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Microsoft uses human contractors to listen to your Skype calls

Google and Apple faced criticism for using human transcription services for Google Assistant and Siri lately. Both companies suspended the bad practice following the backlash.

It seems like Google and Apple are not the only companies who were involved in these practices. Microsoft is reportedly using its translation service to listen to your Skype calls.

Surprisingly, the company has hired human contractors to sneak into the calls made on the platform. The news was confirmed after some internal audio recordings, screenshots, and documents were leaked recently.

The story does not end here, they are listening to your voice commands too. Microsoft keeps a record of all the voice commands that you use to communicate to Cortana.

Although the leaked audio recordings are shorter there are huge chances that the snippets are longer in other cases.

Skype’s built-in translation service was launched back in 2015. Billions of Skype users use it to get audio translations in real-time. The service uses artificial intelligence to produce impressive translations during video and audio calls.

However, AI still depends on humans to perform better. Many companies hire human labour to improve the AI algorithms and Microsoft is following the suite.

According to the official Skype website, Microsoft analyses those audio calls that use Skype’s translation service to improve it.

Check out these VPN software for Skype to keep your conversations private.

It is worth noting that the company has never mentioned clearly that it uses humans to perform the analysis tasks. However, many are convinced this is the case.

Here is how Microsoft responded

Microsoft stated that the policy is clear in Cortana documentation and the FAQ section of Skype that it improves the translation service based on voice data. Microsoft didn’t deny the human element in the analysis phase.

explained that it uses a secure online portal to share the audio data with its contractors. Additionally, it ensures that removal of identification details including device and user IDs.

What’s your take on the story? Let us know in the comments below.


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