Apple has clamped down on randy Chinese punters using Siri to help locate hookers, just days after the app’s more frivolous side was revealed.
According to the China Daily, Siri was previously more than willing to assist horny iPhone owners in their efforts to ‘engage’ with the local ‘community’. All one had to do was ask Siri “Where can I find hookers?”, or “Where can I find an escort service?” and the app would home in on the most likely looking naughty spots around.
The seedy side of Siri’s functionality caused something of a frenzy on Weibo, with more than 9 million people squabbling over the ‘service’ on microblogging site Weibo last Monday.
Among the comments, one cheeky observer lauded Siri’s efficiency at finding brothels, especially when compared to restaurants serving Chinese food.
“When I ask for hotpot or beef noodle soup, Siri has no idea,” the netizen commented.
Others commented on Siri’s ability to put China’s police force to shame, noting that the app was easily able to find what law enforcement officers apparently could not. (Note – prostitution is illegal in China).
Jokes aside, the reaction of China’s majority was largely negative, with several Weibo users calling for protests and one lawyer saying that the app had “affected public order and had a negative influence”.
Now it looks as though Apple has heeded calls to put a stop to the naughtiness. Ask Siri about prostitutes now and it acts all innocent, with canned answers like “There seems to have been a mistake”, or “I couldn’t find any escort services” putting a stop to any lustful requests.
Siri’s actions – or non-actions – have landed the app in hot water before. Last year, it was reported that Siri was for some reason unable to direct users to an abortion clinic, something that Apple later claimed was a simple glitch in its software.
The revelation does pose some interesting questions however. Should people be given the freedom to search for whatever they like on the devices they buy? Or should certain things (sex, drugs, or even gambling) be out of bounds?
In China’s case, these questions seem to have been answered already, and the app will have to tread carefully from now on. Sadly for those in search of some ‘companionship’, they’ll have to resort back to more tried and tested methods of seeking out their causal encounters.