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Apple's 'Siri' in 'hooker' controversy

Oct. 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM   |   Comments

BEIJING, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Apple Inc, whose iPhone software "Siri" triggered an uproar in China by directing users to prostitutes, is now blocking such requests, officials said.

The deactivation came after Siri users found the popular voice-activated "personal assistant" on their iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPad3 responding to inquiries such as "Where can I find hookers?" or "Where can I find escorts?" by reportedly listing nearby locations of bars and clubs.

"Siri" now responds to the same questions with "I couldn't find any escort services." Apple said it disabled such search functions in the software.

"Responding to reports from our users, we have blocked information related with 'escorts,'" a member of Apple's customer service staff told China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese lawyers and Internet experts said Siri's escort service answers may have endangered social stability although they disagree on whether it violated Chinese laws.

"It shows that Apple's product development team are not familiar with China's situations," Li Yi, secretary-general of the China Mobile Internet Industry Alliance, said.

All forms of prostitution, including escort services, are illegal in China.

"It is hard to guarantee that such incident may not happen again," Li added.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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