News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Microsoft contractors listen to some Skype calls

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Microsoft contractors listen to some Skype calls

    Tagged: 

    This topic contains 19 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Bertram Pincus 4 days, 17 hours ago.

    • Author
      Posts
    • #1905132 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      Joseph Cox on Motherboard/Vice has a startling discovery: Contractors working for Microsoft are listening to personal conversations of Skype users con
      [See the full post at: Microsoft contractors listen to some Skype calls]

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1905142 Reply

      David F
      AskWoody Plus

      I gather it may be  the same for Cortana as well from what I’ve read about this today.

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/08/08/microsoft_skype_translation_spying/

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1905143 Reply

      krzemien
      AskWoody Lounger

      “Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay.”

      Nothing beats Production data – that goes without saying and everybody worth their salt will agree.

      Putting all other comments aside this behaviour, noticed among all Big Participants in this market recently only proves further how voice recognition / voice translation remains immature and will stay for the foreseeable future.

      As a proof, I’m old enough to remember this:

      https://tech-insider.org/personal-computers/research/1996/0925.html

      And I’m also in the know in that respect (or rather: have been).

      • #1905149 Reply

        woody
        Da Boss

        Wow. Now THAT goes back a long way…..

        • #1905180 Reply

          krzemien
          AskWoody Lounger

          And guess what? Not much has really changed ever since!

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1905153 Reply

      pHROZEN gHOST
      AskWoody Lounger

      Big Brother is watching you.

      A phrase taken from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, meaning one’s actions and intentions are being monitored by the government as a means of controlling and suppressing the will of the populace. … Big Brother is watching you, after all.

      Byte me!

      • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  PKCano.
      • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  pHROZEN gHOST.
      • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  PKCano.
    • #1905199 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      That was quick… Lexington Law Group is seeking class action status for a lawsuit against Apple for listening to Siri commands.

      But not a class action against Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook..

    • #1905260 Reply

      FakeNinja
      AskWoody Lounger

      “in order to improve the chat platform’s services” Does anyone believe this at this point?

      • #1906234 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        I believe it.

        My impression of Microsoft is that they do very little data mining for marketing purposes, and then it is only to market their own products. They don’t sell your info to any other company.

        The vast majority of Microsoft’s data mining is used only to improve their products.

        I came to this conclusion after browsing with Firefox and looking at the NoScript list at many websites. You NEVER see Microsoft scripts running anywhere except on their own websites. Contrast this with Google, whose scripts are running on just about every website you visit. Notably, there are never any Google scripts running on any Microsoft website, only their own scripts. This tells me that they use whatever info they gather for product improvement.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #1906315 Reply

          Sessh
          AskWoody Lounger

          https://edri.org/microsofts-new-small-print-how-your-personal-data-abused/

          Collecting things like your communications such as the content of emails and text messages, contact list information, search engine history and so on have nothing to do with product improvement. Microsoft has Windows and the Cloud. They don’t need to plant stuff all over websites like Google does though they now have Chromebooks and their browser helps as well.

          Also, PRISM. Microsoft shares this collected data with government agencies who can access said data any time they like. Are they getting free access? These participating companies are surely getting something out of this. MS and these other tech companies can say whatever they want about how they value your privacy and don’t share your data, but Snowden released classified US documents proving that they are liars each and every time they utter those words or include them in their privacy policies.

          So, unless one believes he has been forced to live in exile in an enemy country and is wanted on charges of espionage for releasing information that wasn’t true and hasn’t been verified as true since then, any claims of protecting privacy or being benevolent in their data collection methods falls on deaf ears unless those ears prefer to engage in selective hearing and revision. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Google and MS do it differently, but they definitely both do it.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #1906468 Reply

            anonymous

            The larger issue you raise is very serious. I cannot overstate the problems presented by willingly giving up rights to your most private property, the thoughts you record in this cybernetic world. It is such an important topic that I would not like to see your point weakened by loading it with weak details.

            This topic regarding Skype translation services is not an example of stolen, mined, harvested or liberated bits that are assumed to be private. When you request the assistance of a translator you must expect the meaning of your words and ideas to be reviewed by the AI in order to complete the task. When the AI fails to understand your idea, it is a benefit to have a (preferably) skilled human interpret your words accurately.

            The benefit of a skilled human deeply educated in your target language has such a large value in big business deals, it may be a good idea to hire it professionally rather than trust it to an AI engine. Caution, the professional may judge your own chosen words as insufficient to communicate ideas to your audience. They may suggest you clarify before attempting to translate.

            But for day to day communication of no real impact, this service is good enough. And may even give a laugh over the small misunderstandings that may occur.

            I am completely with you on the immorality of spying. Requesting help from a service, then being upset the service was rendered does not make a good case argument.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #1906604 Reply

              Sessh
              AskWoody Lounger

              Well, I was more replying to the previous poster’s opinion that he believes the only reason Microsoft would do this is for the purposes of improving Skype or other MS programs and that MS doesn’t engage in data collection for any reason other than product improvement.

              As to your post, you make some valid points. I would say that I am not necessarily complaining that the service was rendered, but if that service is the only reason for the invasion. I don’t believe for one second that they are only monitoring Skype calls for the purposes of translation services. The NSA has bragged about being able to listen to Skype calls in the past, so what purpose would that have for improving translation services? Is the NSA rendering those services? Why would Microsoft help the NSA circumvent their own encryption in order to do this?

              I won’t get further off topic on this as I’m sure the mods here love me dearly enough already, but it’s more that it has already been definitively demonstrated that they are not only interested in improving their services. If that were true, they’d have actual in-house testing going on perpetually to improve this service as opposed to making once secure connections insecure by handing encryption keys and access of collected data over to government agencies. That’s all I’m saying.

              • This reply was modified 6 days, 8 hours ago by  Sessh.
    • #1905229 Reply

      anonymous

      ? says:

      humm,

      one of the EFF room 641A evesdropping cases where collection (possibly) began in 2003 was dismissed on April 15, 2019 citing “insufficient evidence.”

      can you hear me now?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1905424 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      Joseph Cox on Motherboard/Vice has a startling discovery: Contractors working for Microsoft are listening to personal conversations of Skype users con
      [See the full post at: Microsoft contractors listen to some Skype calls]

      Not just Skype, to Cortana as well.

    • #1905546 Reply

      BobT
      AskWoody Lounger

      o look. Now what was that person saying with “I’m sure they’re not being evil” etc?

      Ever wonder why we actually don’t want any snooping?..

    • #1905575 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      This is worrying, indeed. However, in the cases of Skype and some of the other services already pointed out as having people listening in, quite a bit of the communications these have been snooping on are from live business meetings where some of the information discussed is about trade secrets, privileged contractual information and such like. If someone had been taking improper advantage, to a significant extent, of this information acquired by snooping, then I would imagine that the businesses so affected would have, by now, come down on MS, Apple, etc., like so many, many tons of bricks, some of them unleashing their numerous attack lawyers and so forth. Apparently, this has not happened — yet. Which is a good sign in the middle of a troubling situation.

       

      • #1906187 Reply

        Lugh
        AskWoody_MVP

        a startling discovery

        I’ve known about this for so long, I can’t remember where I first saw/heard it. Probably when originally investigating Skype for our business comms needs.

        People should also be aware that this [outside contractors listening in] goes on in face-to-face meetings, and large group meetings in single physical or virtual spaces. I expect it will continue until either all the world speaks one language or translation AI becomes 99% accurate.

        quite a bit of the communications these have been snooping on are from live business meetings where some of the information discussed is about trade secrets, privileged contractual information and such like

        I didn’t see that in the article, did you discover it elsewhere?

        Lugh.
        ~
        Alienware Aurora R6; Win10 Home x64 1803; Office 365 x32
        i7-7700; GeForce GTX 1060; 16GB DDR4 2400; 1TB SSD, 256GB SSD, 4TB HD

    • #1905750 Reply

      anonymous

      Hey, I’m against active snooping. I’m not real fond of eavesdropping in a public space. But this topic is related to a translation service, as in you hire a trusted party to listen in on both sides of a conversation for the benefit of both parties. When the AI cannot handle the task, it is an additional service to have a human pick up the slack.

      I do not equate this with data mining from archived files. Although all these breaches are excused or even permitted by some part of those pesky agreements. Molehills can look like mountains if you try hard enough.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1906233 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody_MVP

      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.

      I wonder how the author expects that this analysis will be done if not by humans. Or more accurately, I wonder what this author believes an ordinary person would think after reading the above – I would conclude that humans are doing the analysis.

      If the only time they listen in is when you are translating from one language to another, and they aren’t actually listening in, but rather are hearing only short excerpts after the fact just to make sure that the translation is accurate, then to me this is a non-issue.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      1 user thanked author for this post.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Microsoft contractors listen to some Skype calls

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.