According to Sophos' Paul Ducklin, those rare individuals who take the time to actually read Apple's EULA that comes with the voice dictation software will be in for a big shock.
First of all, the text-to-speech doesn't happen on your computer, it's done in Apple's cloud:
When you use the keyboard dictation feature on your computer, the things you dictate will be recorded and sent to Apple to convert what you say into text.
Furthermore, the only way to activate the software is by agreeing to this:
Your computer will also send Apple other information, such as your first name and nickname; and the names, nicknames, and relationship with you (for example, 'my dad') of your address book contacts.
Apparently, this is "used to help the dictation feature understand you better and recognise what you say."
And as with every all-or-nothing agreement, there is an opt-out - you can simply delete the activation and it will go to sleep (just like that puppy dog from your childhood)… but just like the photos on the mantle, the sleep isn't quite as permanent as we might like.
Apple will delete your User Data, as well as your recent voice input data. Older voice input data that has been disassociated from you may be retained for a period of time to generally improve Dictation and other Apple products and services. This voice input data may include audio files and transcripts of what you said.
So, if you were foolish enough to activate the software, Apple won't be quite so foolish as to delete all their hard-won audio should you choose to "pull the plug."
So, I ask readers… how concerned would you be for Apple to have a copy of your address book? We trust Facebook with our life's interconnections (more fool us); do we trust Apple also?
In addition, should you activate this software, are you now much less likely to utter anything confidential or incriminating; knowing that a transcript will be stored on servers in far-off lands, just waiting for the Feds to (legally) request access to it?
I thought not.
This seems to be a rather poorly thought out solution to a problem that has previously been solved more benignly. But of course, Apple must have a boat-load of idle servers just waiting for the Siri work that never came. Here's their chance to shine!