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IBM bans the use of Apple's Siri application


A man uses 'Siri' on the new iPhone 4S. The widely anticipated new mobile phone from Apple saw customers line up in cities around the world for hours to be amongst the first to buy the device. Apple is now facing a class-action lawsuit from customers disappointed with Siri's performance.


Oli Scarff

IBM has banned the use of Siri in all of its offices. 

IBM banned iPhone's personal assistant app because the application ships everything you ask her to a data center in Maiden, North Carolina, according to Wired. Along with Siri, IBM has also banned the use of Dropbox. Both were banned because they possesed a high potential to be hacked, and sensitive information to be leaked.

"We found a tremendous lack of awareness as to what constitutes a risk. Now we're trying to make people aware," IBM CIO Jeanette Horan told MIT's Technology Review. Horan addressed the Siri issue directly saying, "The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere."

The banning of the personal assistant app is in response to the company's newly adopted "bring your own device" policy that allows employees to use their own personal devices for work purposes both in the office and at home. However, before they are allowed to bring work anywhere, IBM's IT department must first check over the device and install software which allows data to be erased remotely.

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Though IBM may be concerned about where their information is going, Apple is in no way trying to hide the fact that Siri captures and stores all of your data. Apple's iPhone Software License Agreement specifically says, "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. 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."

"I really don't think it's something to worry about," Edward Wrenbeck, the lead developer of the original Siri iPhone app told Wired. "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."

ZDNet noted that IBM banning the use of Siri and apps like it is "corporate paranoia at its best." They added that IBM may be reading too deeply into Apple's terms and conditions. They do concede in saying that while it isn't likely that Apple is snooping, it is still possible. 

However in the highly competitive world of computing IBM isn't taking the risk. "We're just extraordinarily conservative. It's the nature of our business," Horan said. 

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