Microsoft contractors listening to Skype translation services

by Volker Weber

Contractors working for Microsoft are listening to personal conversations of Skype users conducted through the app's translation service, according to a cache of internal documents, screenshots, and audio recordings obtained by Motherboard. Although Skype's website says that the company may analyze audio of phone calls that a user wants to translate in order to improve the chat platform's services, it does not say some of this analysis will be done by humans.

By now you can safely assume that everything involving voice is (potentially) being listened in by humans. Unless it is end-to-end encrypted.

Comments

This rules out all Microsoft services, including Skype, SFB and Teams? Interesting as they position the latter as replacement for your company’s PBX.

Peter Daum, 2019-08-12

Not voice calls, but voice translation services. But one way or the other, this will end now.

Volker Weber, 2019-08-12

Just a little detail: AI and ML often uses humans to check on the results to determine whether changes need to be made in the logic to improve the results. In this case, it was Skype Translator which provides 5-10 second clips at random, with all personal identifiers removed. People review the result that AI produced & determine if it's a solid translation or needs improvement. This still may make people uncomfortable, which I get, but it's not someone sitting around listening to Volker's conversations. They don't have the ability to target or select anyone or see who's voice they're listening. There are updates going out to several public facing docs today that state that humans (under NDA) may be reviewing these results as this wasn't stated prior & of course, that this is all compliant with GDPR.

Amy Blumenfield, 2019-08-12

This whole stuff with „intercepting“ people is being boiled up a bit, from my POV.
AI is being trained by people or at least AI is being trained with data selected by people. Definitely this should have been made more clear to „normal“ people who are not in the concepts of AI...

Bodo Menke, 2019-08-13

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