(Lack of) privacy: Over the past couple of months, several tech companies have faced criticism for allowing humans to transcribe audio conversations between users, and conversations between humans and virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. Of the companies who have been exposed for these practices, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have all agreed to temporarily pause transcription until a wider conversation about privacy can be had.
As reported by Motherboard, though, Microsoft has broken away from the pack and will continue to employ transcriptionists (both contractors and full-time employees). These individuals will listen to recordings captured by Skype’s Translator feature and the Cortana virtual assistant; even if those recordings contain sensitive, confidential, or otherwise private information.
Whether or not these small steps will be enough for privacy activists and the public remains to be seen.