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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Dictation question.


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oldflyer2

 
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I hope this is the right spot for this.

I have tested dictation on a mid 2011 Mac and find that it works quite well. I feel that it would suit my needs just fine.

My question ... does anyone else feel uneasy about Apple needing a list of all your contacts and also about them keeping copies of all your old dictation files? Seems just a tad intrusive to me.

Are there any tricks to keep the info private?

Cheers,

Tom
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chas_m

 
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Apple (actually Dragon) "needs" access to your contact list so that it understands what you mean when you say "Leslie Furguson" and spells it correctly. That is the *only* thing it uses your contacts for.

I'm not sure what you mean about "keeping copies of all your old dictation files." I have seen no evidence that it keeps anything, but then again I have no idea what "old dictation files" are.
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oldflyer2

 
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Thanks Chas_M for your reply.

This is part of Apple's privacy statement under Dictation ...

"You can choose to turn off the dictation feature at any time. To do so, open System Preferences, click Dictation & Speech, and then click Off in the Dictation section. If you turn off Dictation, Apple will delete your User Data, as well as your recent voice input data. Older voice input data that has been disassociated from you may be retained for a period of time to generally improve Dictation and Siri functionality in Apple products and services. This voice input data may include audio files and transcripts of what you said and related diagnostic data, such as hardware and operating system specifications and performance statistics."

I guess I am just paranoid.

Cheers
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All us older folks are paranoid. We've seen all too many times where benign things get twisted to mean something totally unrelated to what was actually meant. Thank you very much political correctness...

All Apple's Dictation service gets recorded and sent to Apple - that's where the voice to text occurs - not on your computer.
Don't know if Dragon's gets sent to their servers or not.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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oldflyer2

 
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bobtomay, I have tried to find out if Dragon does the same thing or if it is actually a resident program in a computer. I am waiting an answer to an email to them.

I suppose more and more applications are going to become a mere shell on our computers, and the work will be done elsewhere. My computers are basically typewriters ... that's it. I don't use 3% of their capabilities, so I don't fit the mold of syncing all systems together as much as possible.

I guess I have read far to many stories of identity theft, breeches of security, and just plain messing up peoples lives through their computers.

Cheers,

Tom
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chas_m

 
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The Dictation feature used in iOS devices and on the Mac is in fact licensed from Nuace (ie, makers of Dragon). The reasons some of the processing of speech happens in the cloud is that it is the only place large enough to store the database of "learning" of word pronunciation, of accents, of dialects and slang used by you and everyone else who speaks the "same" language. It's phonetic analysis writ large.

THAT is what it is sometimes retaining to improve the accuracy of the service (which improves the longer you use it).

I suppose if what you're composing is REALLY sensitive it's probably still best to type it out, since it's true that some portion of it COULD be available to Dragon in the cloud in an effort to improve the service. For most of us, the idea that Dragon would be remotely interested in what we're dictating in any other context other than the one I just described comes off more like having an overly-inflated opinion of our own importance.

PS. I have further alarming news ... remember back in the day when we had human telephone operators? Guess what ... they could choose to listen in on your conversations too if they desired. Or how about party lines or phone extensions? My point is this ... it's always all been out there for anyone who really wanted to hear it.
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oldflyer2

 
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chas_m, yes, I remember the party lines (don't remember our ring though). Yes, my Mum used to listen to our neighbors conversations.

Thank You for clearing up the Nuance thing. I was wondering about that.

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I suppose if what you're composing is REALLY sensitive it's probably still best to type it out, since it's true that some portion of it COULD be available to Dragon in the cloud in an effort to improve the service. For most of us, the idea that Dragon would be remotely interested in what we're dictating in any other context other than the one I just described comes off more like having an overly-inflated opinion of our own importance.
Sorry, but it is not that anything I have to dictate is that sensitive or important. In fact it has nothing to do with what I would dictate. It is all about the fact that there would/could be a link back to me, my machine, and my personal info contained there. No, it would likely never happen. Yes, I am overly paranoid. Why am I so paranoid about it ... My Sister got put on (is still on) a Homeland Security list that she will never get off of. If she goes across the border, it can take a couple of hours. All because of identity theft through a hacked computer. Another local couple that I know of have lost almost everything due to careless computer use.

Yes, it is there and it is a choice we make when we fire these things up. All I am trying to do is make use of some of the technology, in a secure way.

Cheers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldflyer2 View Post
It is all about the fact that there would/could be a link back to me, my machine, and my personal info contained there.
The only problem with this presumption is that there isn't a link to your machine in any way at all.

To give you an example: let's say I sent you an email that had a picture attached, which you saved.

Does that picture give you ANY connection or ability to link back to my machine, examine my files, etc?
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oldflyer2

 
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chas_m, Thanks Again for your reply. If the information that Apple says they use for learning purposes is truly anonymous, then you are 100% correct and there is no way to trace the source. I am by no means highly educated in the workings of computers or how the net works, or how people get themselves into trouble using them.

Being a Senior, I have been to several talks on Internet security, and they have all come down to keeping things simple and don't take chances. That is why I asked about this subject in the first place.

Since you are way more knowledgeable than me on the subject, I will accept your explanation. I tested the program yesterday, and it will do what I want quite nicely, so I will use it, and not worry about it.

Thank You

Cheers
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Apple says that the data is anonymized, and given their stellar track record on security I have no reason to disbelieve them.

More info on this topic: Siri data stored for up to two years, Apple says | Electronista

I spend a lot of time working with seniors on Macs and iPads etc and if I had to summarize my favourite tips they would be these:

1. Have a "public" and "private" email address. Give out the "public" one where its required for sign-ins and such. Give the "private" one ONLY to friends and family you actually know.

2. Resist the temptation to have one easy-to-remember password. Instead, use utilities like Keychain and 1Password (et al) to create stronger passwords, and instead make only the single "access to 1Password or Keychain" password easy to remember (but still something you would know that others would not be able to guess).

3. When things get difficult or frustrating, remember that you have in your life undertaken many challenges younger people (who are naturally more adept at computers) would not be able to handle. This also means that the solution is NOT beyond you, it's just a matter of finding the right approach to execute the solution or framing the problem so that a solution can be made available.

4. If you're on a Mac, it's like riding through town in a suit of armor while the PC people around you are in rags, so keep in mind that you're well-protected from most threats already. There are still some things (like falling for scams and trickware) that can trip you up, but for the most part it's important not to buy into too much of the fearmongering.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
If you're on a Mac, it's like riding through town in a suit of armor while the PC people around you are in rags, so keep in mind that you're well-protected from most threats already.
Tell that to the Linux or BSD crowd and they'll laugh at you.

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oldflyer2

 
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Thanks Again. I have many passwords and several emails so I should be covered that way.

Cheers,

oldflyer2
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Quote:
Apple says that the data is anonymized, and given their stellar track record on security I have no reason to disbelieve them.
ROFL.

Quote:
Tell that to the Linux or BSD crowd and they'll laugh at you.
I'm also having a good laugh from this.
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chas_m

 
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I was referring to Windows, and thus not commenting on the Linux crowd's fashion sense.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
ROFL
As they say in math class: show your work or SD&SU.
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