Earlier this week Mac osX Mountain lion was released. Like normal thousands of mac user flocked to download and install the latest and greatest. Some complained of their machines being slow, some were upset over airplay mirror not being available on their not so old hardware and even more amazing, some were upset that Facebook integration wasn’t available till this fall. Of all the the comments I didn’t see one that mentioned the new dictation feature. In fact I’m using the dictation feature to write this particular post. As a dictation tool its very convenient to be built into the operating system. It’s fast and it understands normal speech without having to go through the learning curve of understanding your speech patterns.
Like many others after installing or upgrading to Mountain Lion I decided I wanted to test out the way dictation worked. Once I got it all set up and figured out I went ahead and click the enable button to get started using dictation and was greeted with an interesting warning that got me to thinking.
“When you dictate text, what you say is sent to Apple to be converted to text. To help your Mac recognize what you’re saying, other information is sent as well, such as your contacts.”
Right then the paranoid security guy feelings in me kicked on and said what types of information they storing? How are the storing it? How long are they storing it? and who are they giving it to? And why do you need to access my contact?
As it turns out, technology is still based on the Siri servers that were cracked late last year. BGR: Hackers crack Siri to work on any device. So the question now is what kinds of information is stored on these servers and just how vulnerable are they to attack? It’s not enough to prevent this user form enjoying it or using it to write a book. But it’s enough to raise the thought of “is someone else reading my thoughts?” and for the aluminum hat folks out there it may be a deal breaker.