IBM Bans Siri, Thinks Apple Might Be Spying
IBM employees are more than welcome to bring an iPhone to work but they are forbidden from using the phone’s voice-activated digital assistant known as Siri.
Officials at the company have become wary of Siri because it sends all inquiries to Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina data center where Siri-launched searches, e-mail messages and other information appear to disappear into a black box of informatino.
Speaking to MIT’s Technology Review IBM CIO Jeanette Horan revealed, “The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere.”
Perhaps IBM is going to far but Wired’s Robert McMillan did some TOS diving and found the following statement in the iPhone Software License Agreement:
“‘When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text,’ Apple says. Siri collects a bunch of other information — names of people from your address book and other unspecified user data, all to help Siri do a better job.”
The agreement then goes on to state:
“By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and other Apple products and services.”
IBM is not the only agency worried about how Siri stores information, several months ago the American Civil Liberties Union issued a warning about Siri technology.
In the meantime Siri developer Edward Wrenbeck compares worries to Siri to worries over general internet privacy:
“I really don’t think it’s something to worry about. People are already doing things on these mobile devices. Maybe Siri makes their life a little bit easier, but it’s not exactly opening up a new avenue that wasn’t there before.”
Apple and Google are not commenting about the Siri ban at this time but perhaps Apple would be smart to learn from Google and begin anonymizing search results.