Will Spinvox get its vox back?

It wasn't a good day for Spinvox, the voicemail speech-to-text company which was accused in a BBC article penned by Rory Cellan-Jones of some very serious data protection breaches.

Allegedly, rather than having ground-breaking technology that listens to spoken voicemails and converts them to text, the company has been paying countless call centre staff in South Africa and the Philippines to listen to at least some of the messages and translate them manually. Obviously this raises some eyebrows in terms of privacy implications and whether it meets the data protection act.

At the time of writing, Spinvox was radio silent, though the story was also picked up by Sky and is all over the Twittersphere.

Spinvox has no choice in this situation but to go on the offensive and prove the credibility of its technology. And it needs to be specific about how its algorithms work. Ambiguity will get the company nowhere at this stage.

There isn't much else to say at this point until they respond, but a point worth making is the age-old 'any PR is good PR' thinking. Many people who didn't know what Spinvox did, now do - and some of them won't care about Rupert on the street in South Africa hearing what their spouse picked up at the supermarket for dinner that night. Most of us receive voicemails so dull they would probably put the call centre staff to sleep rather than incite drama, though staff apparently claimed in Facebook group posts to hear death threats, sexual messages and all sorts.

Waiting to see what transpires.

UPDATE: According to Sky news Twitter correspondent Ruth Barnett, someone from Spinvox will be be on Sky News channel 501 at 7pmish tonight to talk about the issue. This is one interview we won't miss.


  1. but they made a big deal of the way they translated VMs to texts...this is pretty damaging I'd say, dunno if the ole 'all publicity is good publicity' applies here.

    And they have gone to ground, ths story broke this morning and its nearly end of day - where the hell are they?!

  2. Excellent perspective Emily. Radio silence really didn't help them at all during the day today.

  3. did someone record the interview? Can they upload to Youtube

  4. http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/video/SpinVox-Boss-Denies-Most-Voicemails-Manually-Converted-Into-Texts/Video/200907415345153?lpos=UK+News_2&lid=VIDEO_1978532_Message+Firm+Dismisses+Privacy+Fears&videoCategory=UK+News

  5. They've come back now but what a terrible, damaging silence. I met their PR people at Mobile World Congress and they were really nice and appeared switched on, but this was a really bad day.

    Frankly, I don't care how they translate text, it was working as a service and I really like it, but why bullsh*t any body IF that's what really happened?