Apple who recently was in the center of a controversy about its Siri program where the graders heard all the recordings of the iPhone users in the guise of improving the accuracy of the voice-assistant, fired over 300 contractors across Europe. The brand has also suspended its Siri program. As per reports, the number of contractors laid off is even more. Apple has reportedly laid off 300 contractors in Cork, Ireland only. These staff members were on paid leave since August 2, amidst the controversy. The contractors were hired through contracting firms, and the reason given to them for being laid off was “technical errors.” However, there are conflicting reports about how Apple had informed the contracting firms about the dismissals a week prior. Apple gave a public statement when they highlighted how they were “committed to delivering a great Siri experience while protecting user privacy.” They also had announced that the Siri program was suspended and under review. This sudden news of hundreds of dismissals has still come as a surprise to many. The vital decision has caused an uproar amongst the employees who are raising points about ethics and, discussions. The concerns raised by the employees were ignored and not given any attention. A former contractor shared, “Discussions around ethics in this job was a constant between workers, but we do not know how to bring it up.” The former employee shared, “They (the recordings) were about a few seconds long, occasionally we would hear personal data or snippets of conversations, but mostly it would be Siri commands.”
The brand is releasing its next iOS update in October, and it is being estimated that the Siri grading system will be opted out in the update.