How To Add Audio Narration To a Powerpoint Presentation – Blog – 10 minute

PowerPoint is an app that enables you to create and deliver an engaging presentation to an audience. But what if the audience is not in the same room or you are sending it as a link or attachment?
This is why adding audio narration to PowerPoint slides timings is helpful and useful. You can record the narration from inside your presentation so that it plays while viewers watch. Adding voice-over narration to your Powerpoint presentation or video will turn it into evergreen stand-alone content.

This article will discuss how to add audio narration to a Powerpoint presentation for Windows 10.
Test Your Default Microphone
The first thing you will need is a working microphone. Most computers today come with a built-in microphone. If you plan to use your computer default microphone, you don’t have to take additional steps to add a microphone.
However, you do want to make sure it’s working and loud enough to hear. To set your default microphone, test it to make sure it’s working. To customize the properties, follow the steps below.

Start by typing Settings in the search bar.
Click on System > Sound.

Look under Input for options to configure your microphone. Click the dropdown menu under Choose your input device to assign your default microphone.
If you only have one microphone, there is nothing to select. To open additional microphone settings, click on Device properties > Additional device settings.

Enable or disable speaker and access audio driver information under the General tab.
The Listen tab enables you to allow or deny your mic to listen to the speakers.
Adjust the microphone volume and balance settings under Levels.
Change the default sample rate and bit depth under the Advanced tab.
If enabled on your computer, Spatial sound can enhance the audio experience. 

To test your microphone, go back to the Input section. If it’s not working, you can use the Troubleshoot button to try to resolve the issue.

Install a USB Microphone

To enable your microphone, first, plug in the USB microphone to your computer. Then right-click on the volume icon on the taskbar. 
Click on Sounds.

Under the Recording tab, choose the microphone you want to set up and click Configure. 
Under Configure your Speech Recognition experience, click on Set up microphone.

When the setup wizard starts, choose the type of microphone you are installing and click Next.

The next screen you see will provide tips for using your microphone and some text to read to test your settings. 
Follow the instructions from the wizard and test the microphone to make sure it is working correctly.  

Set USB Microphone As Input Device To Use
If you want to use the external USB microphone you just set up to record your narration, you need to set it as the input device.

Right-click on the volume icon on the right side of the taskbar and click on Open Sound settings.  

From the Sound Settings window, scroll down to Input and tick the box under Choose your input device. 
Select your USB microphone as the input device.

Rehearse & Take Notes
Now that your microphone is set up and tested, instead of jumping right in and starting to record, take the time to practice what you are going to say.
Take notes, write out a script, and rehearse the timings to save time, minimize errors, and ensure that your audio sounds fluid and natural.
Now you are ready to start recording.
Turn On the Recording Tab (Office 365)

To turn on the Recording tab, navigate to File, click Options > Customize Ribbon > Recording > OK.

How To Record An Audio Narration For One Slide
The easiest way to add audio to your PowerPoint presentation is to record one slide at a time. 

Start by selecting the slide where you want to add the audio.
Navigate to Insert > Audio > Record Audio.

Choose a name for your voiceover and replace Recorded Sound with the name.  

To start your recording, click the button with the red dot. Read from your script and click the stop button when finished. 
The stop button is the middle square and will be highlighted in red while you are recording.

To hear your recording, press the play button. If you like how it sounds and want to keep it, click OK.

You can also hear the audio by clicking on the embedded audio icon on your slide. It will open a bar underneath where you can play your audio.

You will now have a visible audio icon on your slide. To hide this icon for your final presentation, click on it. 
Click Playback in the top bar navigation, and tick off Hide During Show.

Record An Audio Narration For An Entire Slideshow (Office 365)

Click on Recording from the top navigation, and then Record Slide Show. 

Choose either Record from Current Slide or Record from Beginning. The slideshow will open in the Recording window.

There are buttons on the top left for recording, pausing, stopping, and playing. Click on the red, round button to start recording. There will be a three-second countdown for you to get ready.
The slide you are recording will show up in the main pane of the window. To advance to the next slide, use the arrow on the right side of the window. To move to a previous slide, use the arrow on the left. Powerpoint with Office 365 will automatically record the time you spend talking on each slide. This includes any animations you have set up.
Use the buttons on the bottom right-hand side of the screen to toggle your microphone, camera, and camera preview on or off. If you choose to re-record part or all your narration, Powerpoint will erase the old version to enable you to record again.
When you finish recording, click on the square button at the top left-hand corner of the recording window.

The timings for each slide will show up in the Slide Sorter view. To see your timings, click on View > Slide Sorter.

See the timings under the slides from the Slide Sorter view in the image below.

Preview Your Slide Show

To preview your slideshow with your narration, animations, and timings (set up before you started recording), click Slide Show from the top bar navigation. Make sure you are on the Home tab.
Choose From Beginning or From Current Slide.

To hear the audio for a single slide, go to Normal view, click on the sound icon and click Play. Note that recorded animations won’t show up when previewing from a single slide.

Manually Set Slide Timings

You can also manually set your slide timings to sync with your narrations. To do so, select the slide from Normal View and then click on Transitions. 
From the Timing group, select the After check box under Advance Slide.

Enter how long you want the slide to stay on the screen before moving onto the next. Do this for every slide you want to use manual timings.

Publish Your Presentation For Sharing
You can save your presentation as a Powerpoint Show (.ppsx) or a video to share it with others. When a viewer opens a slideshow file, it will immediately open in slideshow mode.
To save your presentation, go to File, Save As and select the format from the dropdown menu.

If your presentation is huge and you want to send it as an email attachment, you might need to compress the file. A better option is to upload it to Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive, and send the link to the desired recipients.

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A new and improved version of Bluetooth audio is on the way – Blog – 10 minute

Something to look forward to: With the 3.5mm jack all but gone from smartphones, Bluetooth has become the standard for listening to our headphones—though there’s plenty of room for improvement. At CES, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced that the technology will receive a new set of features known as Bluetooth LE Audio.
The LE part of the name stands for “low energy,” which has been connecting devices such as wearables and sensors without rapidly draining their batteries since 2012. Now, it’s coming to wireless audio devices that have always had higher power requirements, allowing them to send sound over the low energy spectrum.
One of the new features is Multi-Stream Audio. Rather than being able to stream audio to just one device, it will allow sound to be transmitted to multiple devices at the same time. The feature should be of great benefit to truly wireless earbuds like Apple’s AirPods, where only one bud receives a signal before forwarding it to the other side. It will also allow users to connect their wireless headphones to multiple devices at the same time, letting them seamlessly switch between audio sources.

Additionally, Multi-Stream allows a source device to broadcast a Bluetooth signal to an unlimited number of devices. “At airports, at gates and lounges, at sports bars and restaurants, at gymnasiums and waiting rooms—many of these locations now have televisions installed and they’re largely silent,” said Bluetooth SIG vice president of marketing Ken Kolderup. “Now imagine being able to walk into any of those locations and, from a standard headset, being able to scan for and tune in to the audio from one of those TVs.”
Another change will be an improvement in the audio quality, thanks to the Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3), which uses half the bandwidth of the current Bluetooth audio codes, thereby decreasing power consumption. This will enable wireless products that last twice as long or come with smaller batteries.
The Bluetooth SIG says more LE Audio specifications will be released in the first half of 2020, with compatible products expected to arrive later in the year. LE Audio listening in venues should arrive in the next three years.

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Otter – An AI-Powered Audio Transcription Service That Actually Works – Blog – 10 minute

Just as the last decade was all about mobile, the next decade of the Internet will be all about audio. From voice-powered search to dictation to AI assistants, the keyboard is eventually going to be replaced by our voices. Which is good news for our wrists.
Voice recognition for dictation and transcription is still very hit and miss, though. The industry leader is Dragon, and Google and Apple both have a good dictation feature built into Google Docs and MacOS respectively. But on the whole, voice recognition can get a lot more wrong than right, especially if you have an unusual accent.

That’s why Otter is making waves. It’s an audio transcription service that actually works – and wells very well. Even better, not all their best offers are locked behind pro plans.
What Is Otter?
When you have an audio file of one or more people talking, you may want a written version of those conversations. Maybe you want them for YouTube subtitles or perhaps you want to upload them online for SEO purposes? Or perhaps you are a student with an audio recording of a lecture, and you want a written version?
Whatever your circumstances, there are many reasons why you may want to use an audio transcription service. But until now, artificial intelligence options were notoriously bad, and companies who offered to do it for you charged obscene amounts of money.

But now Otter is here to make transcription affordable and available for everyone. It is an online artificial intelligence-powered machine which will take your audio file and spit out a written version in no time at all. The exact length of time will depend on the length of your audio file obviously.
Before You Start…..Things To Bear In Mind About Otter
The Otter audio transcription service is not going to be 100% perfect because :

People stutter and change direction in mid-sentence. This sounds not so bad when you’re listening. But when you see it in writing, it looks chaotic.
Otter sometimes has trouble with punctuation if the person speaks quickly and one sentence runs into another. Then the full stop might get missed out.
If the person has a certain accent, Otter may slightly misunderstand. Hence the benefit of the custom vocabulary list in the Pro plan.
Some words will get misspelt. For example, the company Lyft may be misspelled as ‘Lift’.

Signing Up For the Otter Audio Transcription Service
The free plan gives you 600 minutes of free transcription each month. For casual users, this is more than enough. However, if you choose to upgrade to the Pro plan ($9.99 a month or $99.99 a year), then the benefits are amazing. 
Those 600 minutes shoot up to 6,000 minutes a month, as well as exporting the transcriptions into various file formats (such as PDF and DOCX), custom vocabulary lists (to improve the accuracy of the transcriptions), Dropbox sync, and much more.
But for testing the audio transcription service, 600 minutes is more than you will ever need. Go to the Otter website and sign up. You can either make an account, or sign up using your Google account or Facebook account.
Then in the account settings, you can connect the account to Google or Microsoft to bring in your calendar and contacts. The Zoom integration is a nice touch – once you have made a Zoom call, the audio will be sent immediately to Otter for transcribing.

How To Get Your First Transcription Done With Otter
For this article, I am going to use an MP3 file of a podcast I downloaded. But you can also record someone talking directly into the Otter website and it will get transcribed that way.

Go to the main dashboard page and click import audio/video on the right-hand side.

An upload window will appear where you can navigate to the file’s location on your computer, or drag and drop it with your mouse or trackpad. Once the file is there, it will begin uploading.

When you see the Success status, click Done and you’ll see it ‘processing’.

Now it’s a matter of waiting. For this one hour file, the audio transcription took 30 minutes. You always get an email notification when the transcription is ready. So you can upload the audio file, get the process started, then shut everything down and walk away. Otter will let you know when it’s done.

The Finished Transcript

When you get told that the transcription is ready, go back to the site and click on it on the dashboard page. You’ll now see it, along with handy keywords and tags. You can also create a sharing link for others to view it.

As I said though, it won’t be perfect, so you’ll see errors right away. But these can be easily fixed by clicking the blue EDIT button. 

Now go ahead and correct the typos on the Otter website and remember to save everything.

Now it’s time to export the file. Click the three vertical dots and choose Export Text.

The free version only gives you text file versions or copying to the clipboard, along with various other options, which should not be changed, unless really necessary.

What’s nice about Otter is their speed, as well as the fact that its AI is intelligent enough to separate the different speakers in the audio. It’s the little things that count.

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Betaworks’ next startup camp is focused on audio – gpgmail


Startup studio Betaworks is putting out a call for audio-focused startups.

Specifically, it’s announcing Audiocamp, the latest in its “camp” programs, where it makes a pre-seed investment in a handful of early-stage startups, all around a specific theme. (The last one was focused on synthetic media.)

“When we make these calls for a camp around a theme, what we’re trying to do is see everything that’s out there in a short period of time,” said Danika Laszuk, the head of Betaworks Camp. “We use that to help us understand what are the more innovative things, and where are 57 companies trying to build essentially the same thing?”

The startups, meanwhile, get a “pre-seed” investment from Betaworks, as well as three months to work out of the firm’s office in New York City, where they can learn from and collaborate with each other.

Why focus on audio now? Laszuk said the firm has been interested in the industry for a long time — it was an early investor in podcasting startups Gimlet and Anchor, which Spotify acquired earlier this year. The current interest in audio isn’t just driven by the podcast boom, but also the opportunities around smart speakers and what Lazsuk said will be “the next wave of innovation,” building “audio-first” services for people who are wearing AirPods and other wireless headphones all the time.

She acknowledged that this “always-in” behavior isn’t necessarily a good thing, since it can lead people to become increasingly oblivious to the world around them, but she said that’s been an ongoing worry since the first iPod (and maybe even before that).

“I’m not sure we will singlehandedly break people of that addiction, but there’s so much more awareness around that, and maybe I could have this more thoughtful, context-aware, mobile appropriate experience,” she said.

And that’s just one of the several audio-related categories that Betaworks said it’s looking at for Audiocamp. The others are: Social audio experiences, synthetic/generative audio and music, audio utilities, natural language tools for audio, content discovery and monetization, augmented reality for audio and voice-first applications for smart speakers.

As a podcaster myself, I was particularly interested in Laszuk’s thoughts on discovery and monetization. On the discovery side, she predicted we’ll see AI-powered tools that “help us all find the gems in the long tail.”

As for monetization, she noted that some companies have already had success with subscriptions and listener-supported models. So while she isn’t sure what comes next, she’s “really interested in things that are not ad-based — or if they are ad-based, they’re more innovative and thoughtful than just new ad networks.”

The first application deadline will be October 15. Interested startups can read more in Laszuk’s blog post and apply here.


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Apple changes audio review program – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Apple is turning Siri audio clip review off by default and bringing it in house

Following reports that contractors were reviewing customers’ Siri audio samples for quality control, Apple says it has revamped the process. Moving forward, users have to opt-in to participate, and the audio samples will only be reviewed by Apple employees.

“As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize,” the company said.

2. Mozilla CEO Chris Beard will step down at the end of the year

Mozilla is currently seeking a replacement for Beard, though he’s agreed to stay on through year’s end. Executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced in her own post that she’s agreed to step into an interim role if needed.

3. Federal grand jury indicts Paige Thompson on two counts related to the Capital One data breach

Thompson allegedly created software that allowed her to see which customers of a cloud computing company (although the indictment does not name the company, it has been identified as Amazon Web Services) had misconfigured their firewalls, and as a result accessed data from Capital One and more than 30 others.

A woman is holding a Juul e-cigarette, in Montreal. (Photo: Josie_Desmarais/Getty Images)

4. Juul introduces new POS standards to restrict sales to minors

The Retail Access Control Standards program, or RACS for short, automatically locks the point-of-sale system each time a Juul product is scanned until a valid, adult ID is scanned as well.

5. Apple expands access to official repair parts for third-party shops

Until today, if you were a non-authorized repair shop, you couldn’t get official parts. This could result in mixed experiences for customers.

6. Spotify aims to turn podcast fans into podcast creators with ‘Create podcast’ test

The streaming music service is testing a new ‘Create podcast’ feature that shows up above a user’s list of subscribed podcasts. It directs them to download Anchor, the podcast creation app that Spotify acquired in February.

7. How UK VCs are managing the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit

The prevailing view among investors about founders is that Brexit means uncertain business as usual. One response: “Resilience is the mother of entrepreneurship!” (Extra Crunch membership required.)


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Apple is turning Siri audio clip review off by default and bringing it in house – gpgmail


The top line news is that Apple is making changes to the way that Siri audio review, or ‘grading’ works across all of its devices. First, it is making audio review an explicitly opt-in process in an upcoming software update. This will be applicable for every current and future user of Siri.

Second, only Apple employees, not contractors, will review any of this opt-in audio in an effort to bring any process that uses private data closer to the company’s core processes.

Apple has released a blog post outlining some Siri privacy details that may not have been common knowledge as they were previously described in security white papers.

Apple apologizes for the issue.

“As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize. As we previously announced, we halted the Siri grading program. We plan to resume later this fall when software updates are released to our users — but only after making the following changes…”

It then outlines three changes being made to the way Siri grading works.

  • First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.
  • Second, users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time.
  • Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.

Apple is not implementing any of these changes, nor is it lifting the suspension on the Siri grading process that it halted until the software update becomes available for its operating systems that will allow users to opt in. Once people update to the new versions of its OS, they will have the chance to say yes to the grading process that uses audio recordings to help verify requests that users make of Siri. This effectively means that every user of Siri will be opted out of this process once the update goes live and is installed.

Apple says that it will continue using anonymized computer generated written transcripts of your request to feed its machine learning engines with data, in a fashion similar to other voice assistants. These transcripts may be subject to Apple employee review.

Amazon and Google had previous revelations that their assistants were being helped along by human review of audio, and they have begun putting opt-ins in place as well.

Apple is making changes to the grading process itself as well, noting that, for example, “the names of the devices and rooms you setup in the Home app will only be accessible by the reviewer if the request being graded involves controlling devices in the home.”

A story in The Guardian in early August outlined how Siri audio samples were sent to contractors Apple had hired to evaluate the quality of responses and transcription that Siri produced for its machine learning engines to work on. The practice is not unprecedented, but it certainly was not made as clear as it should have been in Apple’s privacy policies that humans were involved in the process. There was also the matter that contractors, rather than employees, were being used to evaluate these samples. One contractor described as containing sensitive and private information that, in some cases, may have been able to be tied to a user, even with Apple’s anonymizing processes in place.

In response, Apple halted the grading process worldwide while it reviewed the process. This post and updates to its process are the result of that review.

Apple says that around 0.2% of all Siri requests got this audio treatment in the first place, but given that there are 15B requests per month, the quick maths tell us that though it is statistically insignificant, the raw numbers could be quite high.

The move away from contractors was signaled by Apple releasing employees in Europe, as noted by Alex Hearn earlier on Wednesday.

Apple is also publishing an FAQ on how Siri’s privacy controls fit in with its grading process, you can read that in full here.

The blog post from Apple and the FAQ provide some details to consumers about how Apple handles the grading process, how it is minimizing the data given to data reviewers in the grading process and how Siri privacy is preserved.


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Lego is piloting audio and braille building instructions – gpgmail


Here’s a nice thing from some companies this morning — and it’s got a compelling back story, to boot. Lego this morning announced a new accessibility initiate that will make building instructions for select kits available as braille or text for voice readers, in order to reach builders with blindness and vision impairment.

The service is currently available for free through the Lego Audio Instructions site. It’s still in pilot mode, which mostly means it’s currently limited to four kits, with one each from Classic Lego, Lego City, Lego Friends and Lego Movie 2. The company is currently collecting feedback from the experiences with plans to build out its offerings at some point in the first half of next year.

The idea comes from Matthew Shifrin, a 22-year-old blind Lego enthusiast. He approached the company with the idea after he and a friend worked together to create instructions for kits that he could read.

“I had a friend, Lilya, who would write down all the building steps for me so that I could upload them into a system that allowed me to read the building steps on a Braille reader through my fingers,” he says in a release. “She learned Braille to engage with me and support my LEGO passion, and then spent countless hours translating LEGO instructions into Braille.”

MIT’s Media Lab helped create a software that uses AI to translate visual LXFML data (LEGO Exchange Format Mel Script) instructions into text. The result of those instructions are currently being hosted on the Lego site.


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Microsoft admits humans can listen to Skype, Cortana audio – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Microsoft tweaks privacy policy to admit humans can listen to Skype Translator and Cortana audio

The change comes after a recent Motherboard report that contractors were listening to personal Skype conversations and Cortana audio recordings. Microsoft is just the latest tech giant to get called out for failing to make it clear that human contractors could be listening to users’ audio recordings.

When asked about the policy changes, the company said, “We realized, based on questions raised recently, that we could do a better job specifying that humans sometimes review this content.”

2. AT&T and T-Mobile team up to fight scam robocalls

The two companies will today begin to roll out new cross-network call authentication technology based on the STIR/SHAKEN standards — a sort of universal caller ID system designed to stop illegal caller ID spoofing.

3. Amazon launches a new program to donate unsold products from third-party sellers to charity

The program’s launch follows a series of news reports earlier this year, which found that Amazon warehouses routinely trashed millions of unsold items.

Photo: Pivotal

4. VMware says it’s looking to acquire Pivotal

Pivotal is best known for commercializing the open-source Cloud Foundry platform. Its shares have struggled since the company’s IPO in April 2018.

5. UPS takes minority stake in self-driving truck startup TuSimple

TuSimple, which is backed by Nvidia, ZP Capital and Sina Corp., is working on a “full-stack solution,” developing and bringing together all of the technological pieces required for autonomous driving.

6. Racial bias observed in hate speech detection algorithm from Google

Researchers at the University of Washington were interested in the idea that databases of hate speech currently available might have racial biases baked in — like many other data sets that suffered from a lack of inclusive practices during formation.

7. Inside Voyage’s plan to deliver a driverless future

In two years, Voyage has gone from a tiny self-driving car upstart spun out of Udacity to a company able to operate on 200 miles of roads in retirement communities. (Extra Crunch membership required.)




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Microsoft tweaks privacy policy to admit humans can listen to Skype Translator and Cortana audio – gpgmail


Microsoft is the latest tech giant to amend its privacy policy after media reports revealed it uses human contractors to review audio recordings of Skype and Cortana users.

A section in the policy on how the company uses personal data now reads (emphasis ours):

Our processing of personal data for these purposes includes both automated and manual (human) methods of processing. Our automated methods often are related to and supported by our manual methods. For example, our automated methods include artificial intelligence (AI), which we think of as a set of technologies that enable computers to perceive, learn, reason, and assist in decision-making to solve problems in ways that are similar to what people do. To build, train, and improve the accuracy of our automated methods of processing (including AI), we manually review some of the predictions and inferences produced by the automated methods against the underlying data from which the predictions and inferences were made. For example, we manually review short snippets of a small sampling of voice data we have taken steps to de-identify to improve our speech services, such as recognition and translation.

The tweaks to the privacy policy of Microsoft’s Skype VoIP software and its Cortana voice AI were spotted by Motherboard — which was also first to report that contractors working for Microsoft are listening to personal conversations of Skype users conducted through the app’s translation service, and to audio snippets captured by the Cortana voice assistant.

Asked about the privacy policy changes, Microsoft told Motherboard: “We realized, based on questions raised recently, that we could do a better job specifying that humans sometimes review this content.”

Multiple tech giants’ use of human workers to review users’ audio across a number of products involving AI has grabbed headlines in recent weeks after journalists exposed a practice that had not been clearly conveyed to users in terms and conditions — despite European privacy law requiring clarity about how people’s data is used.

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all been called out for failing to make it clear that a portion of audio recordings will be accessed by human contractors.

Such workers are typically employed to improve the performance of AI systems by verifying translations and speech in different accents. But, again, this human review component within AI systems has generally been buried rather than transparently disclosed.

Earlier this month a German privacy watchdog told Google it intended to use EU privacy law to order it to halt human reviews of audio captured by its Google Assistant AI in Europe — after press had obtained leaked audio snippets and being able to re-identify some of the people in the recordings.

On learning of the regulator’s planned intervention Google suspended reviews.

Apple also announced it was suspending human reviews of Siri snippets globally, again after a newspaper reported that its contractors could access audio and routinely heard sensitive stuff.

Facebook also said it was pausing human reviews of a speech-to-text AI feature offered in its Messenger app — again after concerns had been raised by journalists.

So far Apple, Google and Facebook have suspended or partially suspended human reviews in response to media disclosures and/or regulatory attention.

While the lead privacy regulator for all three, Ireland’s DPC, has started asking questions.

In response to the rising privacy scrutiny of what tech giants nonetheless claim is a widespread industry practice, Amazon also recently amended the Alexa privacy policy to disclose that it employs humans to review some audio. It also quietly added an option for uses to opt-out of the possibility of someone listening to their Alexa recordings. Amazon’s lead EU privacy regulator is also now seeking answers.

Microsoft told Motherboard it is not suspending human reviews at this stage.

Users of Microsoft’s voice assistant can delete recordings — but such deletions require action from the user and would be required on a rolling basis as long as the product continues being use. So it’s not the same as having a full and blanket opt out.

We’ve asked Microsoft whether it intends to offer Skype or Cortana users an opt out of their recordings being reviewed by humans.

The company told Motherboard it will “continue to examine further steps we might be able to take”.


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Facebook contractors said to have collected and transcribed users’ audio without permission – gpgmail


Reset the counter on “number of days since the last Facebook privacy scandal.”

Facebook has become the latest tech giant to face scrutiny over its handling of users’ audio, following a report that said the social media giant collected audio from its users and transcribed it using third-party contractors.

The report came from Bloomberg, citing the contractors who requested anonymity for fear of losing their jobs.

According to the report, it’s not known where the audio came from or why it was transcribed, but that Facebook users’ conversations were often matched against to see if they were properly interpreted by the company’s artificial intelligence.

There are several ways that Facebook collects voice and audio data, including from its mobile devices, its Messenger voice and video service, and through its smart speaker. But the social media giant’s privacy policy makes no clear mention of voice . Bloomberg also noted that contractors felt their work was “unethical” because Facebook “hasn’t disclosed to users that third parties may review their audio.”

Facebook has since stopped the practice.

We’ve asked Facebook several questions, including how the audio was collected, for what reason it was transcribed, and why users weren’t explicitly told of the third-party transcription, but did not immediately hear back.

Facebook becomes the latest tech company to face questions about its use of third-party contractors and staff to review user audio.

Amazon saw the initial round of flak for allowing contractors to manually review Alexa recordings without express user permission, forcing the company to add an opt-out to its Echo devices. Google also faced the heat for allowing human review of audio data, along with Apple which used contractors to listen to seemingly private Siri recordings. Microsoft also listened to some Skype calls made through the company’s app translation feature.

It’s been over a year since Facebook last had a chief security officer in the wake of Alex Stamos’ departure.

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