At IBM Headquarters, Siri Is Persona Non Grata

At IBM Headquarters, Siri Is Persona Non Grata
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This week, IBM CIO Jeanette Horan told MIT’s Technology Review that Siri, best pal of Zooey Deschanel and oft snarky gal Friday of the iPhone, has been banned from the company’s internal networks, over concern that spoken queries might be stored somewhere.

In point of fact, IBM’s concerns are not unfounded; Apple’s iPhone Software licence Agreement states that the things you say, both to Siri and to Dictation, are recorded and sent to Apple in order to be converted into text — along with certain other information: names of people from your address book and other unspecified user data, all to help Siri do a better job.

“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.”

For some, the information Siri collects is safe, inconsequential. For others, certain disclosures — even if spoken only to a virtual assistant — could constitute violations of a corporate confidentiality agreement or a similar such clause. That’s not to say Siri has been suspected of deliberately blabbing — though, hey, not a bad spying system? — but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to exercise a bit of caution, if your circumstances call for it.

Wired explains that other companies have been relented after pressure or privacy concerns, explaining that Google came under fire for the way it handles user data. But IBM HQ hasn’t banned Google. The key difference, probably, is that Google now anonymizes search results, whereas Siri can be used to take dictation for text messages and email — meaning, if Siri weren’t PNG, Apple could potentially have access to super-secret IBM intel. [WiredImage via Giddy/Flickr]