Siri is Apple’s virtual assistant that is available to all users on any of their Apple devices (including iPhone, iPad, Apple watch, Mac and TV). Siri is a voice activated and controlled assistant that can perform a number of functions for users. Siri is able to access Internet services to answer questions, perform recommendations or access applications to send text messages or play music. With increased use, the digital assistant actually becomes more personalized to the individual user, adapting to language use, searches and preferences. Users are additionally able to customize Siri for their own personal use, either by changing their voice settings or other custom modifications.
Siri was the first introduction to digital assistants which changed the way users were able to interact with and search with their devices. Rather than having to manually search through their devices or fumble through actions; users are now able to control their devices with the ease of their own voice. Siri helps to further simplify the process of using mobile devices and is able to perform an astonishing number of tasks - from playing a video to scheduling an appointment.
Following Siri came Alexa (Amazon), Google Assistant and Cortana (Microsoft) which all aimed to change the way users were able to manipulate their smart devices and search for information. These digital assistants all are able to help enhance user experience through machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Widely publicized controversies, such as Facebook’s data leaks, have made digital privacy and security an increased concern for users. There have been countless other companies who have been criticized for their lack of transparency in how they collect, store and share user data. In fact, it seems that this will only become more common as we move forward. As our lives become increasingly digitized, it only makes sense that user data and information becomes a more highly sought after and more widely available commodity.
Apple maintains its commitment to privacy and security, but users are still concerned. Siri collects a wide range of privacy and personal information that is highly sensitive for individual users. It is important for Apple to protect their users’ data and keep them safe from leaks. Apple seems to be taking steps towards this by making it more difficult for third parties to track user behaviour and information. However, it is still important for users to be aware that the convenience the digital assistant offers also comes at the cost of a greater vulnerability to themselves.
Since Siri is able to bypass a number of safeguards, by being able to post to your social media accounts or make calls, it is important for users to ensure that Siri is as secure as they can make the digital assistant. A better security practice for users would be to ensure that Siri is only accessible if the phone is unlocked. Although it may be more convenient for users on the go to access Siri at any moment, this also makes users more vulnerable. If anyone is able to access Siri without unlocking your phone, then if your phone becomes lost or falls into the wrong hands it means that you could be putting yourself at risk.
Users can enable this by accessing the “Siri & Search” section of their Settings. From there users can turn off “Allow Siri When Locked” and also adjust other settings to their own preference.
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