The Siri 'grading' programme will restart in Co Cork this autumn

Following reports last week that Apple was to lay off up to 300 contractors at its European headquarters in Cork, the tech giant has moved to reassure workers employed by one of its contractors.

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The jobs of those at GlobeTech Services Ltd.were thought to be under threat following the decision by Apple to suspend its programme which evaluates the quality of its voice assistant, Siri.

The programme, known as “grading,” had come under fire in July after a report in The Guardian that contractors routinely listened to confidential information of those using Siri, which ranged from medical information to couples having sex.

Following these claims and bowing to public outcry and concerns in relation to privacy, Apple suspended the programme in early August.

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Last Saturday, Apple issued a statement to RTÉ News, saying that it was committed to Ireland and would re-commence its grading programme at its Cork base, which has been its Irish home for almost 40 years.

"Our headquarters in Cork will be a primary site for our opt-in Siri grading programme, which will restart this autumn," read the statement.

"As we build our team, our priority will be to consider hiring contractors who were doing this work before we suspended the programme. We are taking this process very seriously to ensure we serve the best interests of our partners, employees and customers."

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According to RTÉ News, Apple will resume an updated and secure Siri grading programme in the coming weeks.

Apple has been based in Ireland since 1980 and employs more than 6,000 people in the country.