Transcription Site Rev Leaves Customer Data Out in the Open
Gig workers warn that more than 40,000 transcribers could access private customer information, including job details
Gig workers for Rev, a popular on-demand transcription service, recently reported that the company was slashing their pay. Now, some freelancers are warning of a security issue involving customer data on Rev’s platform.
When customers submit audio to the service, it goes into a database that is accessible to all of Rev’s 40,000 transcribers (or “Revvers,” as the company calls them). The database that Revvers use to select or “claim” jobs, screenshots of which were viewed by OneZero, lists full names and business titles for customers and permits any transcriber to listen to an audio or video file, so long as it is unclaimed. Though the company touts its “strict customer confidentiality policy” and claims “your files are private and protected from unauthorized access,” the reality is that your audio is essentially up for grabs during its time spent in Rev’s database.
Until a shift in security policy last year, Revvers could also claim and download files, then “unclaim” and return them to the queue. In October 2018, Rev emailed freelancers, saying it was removing the option to download files “due to recent breaches of our confidentiality agreement and an overall effort to bolster our efforts to protect the data and privacy of our customers.” These breaches were not publicly announced.
“Over the course of millions of projects, issues have been rare,” a spokesperson for Rev told OneZero when reached about this. “We respond quickly and decisively to any reports of breach.” The spokesperson added that due to the nature of Rev’s business, “Revvers have access to client information as they transcribe the media files provided,” and the company trusts its freelancers to be discreet.
Rev is billed as a premium, human-performed transcription service that is quick and affordable. According to its website, the company has worked with more than 100,000 customers, including Google, Amazon, and NBC, and contracts with “the largest network of professional transcriptionists in the U.S.”