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Dublin: 14°C Wednesday 25 May 2022

Hundreds of Cork-based Apple contractors lose jobs after hearing Siri users' private conversations

Apple has apologised to Siri users after it emerged that workers heard people having sex and discussing private medical matters.

HUNDREDS OF CONTRACTORS working for Apple who heard private information and interactions while checking Siri recordings at the tech giant’s Cork facility have lost their jobs.

Earlier this month the company said it had halted the practice of “grading” – where people listen to recordings to improve accuracy – following reports that workers had heard people having sex, discussing private medical information and conducting drug deals. 

apple-european-headquarters Apple European headquarters at Hollyhill industrial estate in Co Cork. Source: Niall Carson

In Cork the grading was carried out by workers employed through contracting firms including GlobeTech Services Ltd.

Apple’s decision to suspend grading left the contractors without any work and many were informed last week that they no longer had a job.

Cork North Central TD Mick Barry said today that Apple needs to be held to account for the treatment of the workers.

The Solidarity politician said that some of the workers travelled halfway across the world to perform the contract and that they had been treated very shoddily by the corporation.

“It is not acceptable that workers can be made unemployed with no notice given and then paid off with just one weeks’ pay,” he said.

Apple are responsible for the position these workers find themselves in and Apple cannot just turn their backs and ignore the workers’ plight.

A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on the situation as the workers were not Apple employees.

“We believe that everyone should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve — this includes our own employees and the suppliers we work with in Ireland and around the world,” Apple said in a statement.

GlobeTech’s CEO, Kevin Kelly, said it’s a “difficult situation for everyone involved”.

The nature of our business means that the majority of our employee contracts are fixed purpose and are linked to client requirements and project life cycles.

“We are committed to supporting our employees through potential redeployment opportunities, where possible,” he added.

Apple apologised to Siri users that workers listened to recordings in a statement yesterday evening.

It revealed that it plans to resume grading but only for users who opt in and added that only its own employees will be able to access the recordings, not third-party workers from external companies.

About the author:

Ceimin Burke

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