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Apple Siri 'too smart,' helps users find hookers

By Xu Chi  (Shanghai Daily)

10:43, October 29, 2012

APPLE'S Siri, a popular voice-activated personal assistant app for iPhones, is now accused in China of being "too smart" as it may help users find illegal venues offering prostitution, Chinese media reported.

According to Xinhua news agency, some iPhone users with Apple's latest IOS 6 operating system and Chinese-language Siri said when they asked the assistant app "Where to find prostitutes," Siri showed 15 places with detailed locations.

While many netizens were shocked by the app's powerful search feature, some suggested it could help police crack down on houses of prostitution.

A reporter with Xinhua tried using Siri to search for prostitutes in Baoshan District in Shanghai and the app provided 12 locations in the search result, mostly entertainment venues.

The reporter picked one on Shuangcheng Road and went there in the middle of the night to see young women wearing sexy clothes at the venue's entrance.

A staff worker told the reporter that the venue offers prostitutes in KTV or karaoke rooms, while customers may pay additional fees to take prostitutes out of the venue.

Not all offer sex services

The reporter said he checked another venue provided by Siri and it was also offering such services. But apparently not all the locations were offering sexual services. The reporter checked a third on Shuichan Road W. only to find that it is a hairdressing salon that closes before 10pm.

According to Xinhua, Shanghai police said they are investigating the venues suspected of offering sexual services in the search list by Siri.

Police told the news agency that so far they haven't received any reports or complaints about the app involving sexual content.

Police said that they regard the app as only a platform to collect and exchange information. They encourage residents who have misgivings about search results on the app to report the locations so they can be investigated, according to Xinhua.

The Xinhua reporter said Apple hasn't replied to the agency on the Siri issue.

However, a worker surnamed Lin with Apple's customer service hotline told the reporter that Siri could help users find prostitutes because so far the app has not been set to filter sensitive words. She suggested users turn off the app or set passwords for it to block children from accessing inappropriate material.

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