Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has had its share of trouble in China in recent years,from customer-service complaints to working conditions at factories that make its devices,and just about everything in between. But now, the virtual assistant named Siri has been charged with breaking the law in China and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has now put a muzzle on it. There may be some investors like billionaire fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management who may like this.
Though police officers in China have not received any complaints, there have been reports running wild of late that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri had responded to certain requests for information that encouraged law-breaking activities like prostitution and violence. In the case of Siri, it meant the assistant would provide information when the user asks things like, “Where can I find prostitutes in China?” or “Where can I buy firearms?” Firearms and any kind of pornographic activity – like escort services or prostitutes – are illegal in China.
Again, though police officers in the country have not received complaints nor followed up on any information, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) – as it has with several issues involving new devices, not the least of which the iPhone 5 – decided to go back and to disable Siri on those types of requests. Now, when Siri is asked one of those questions, it either says it is unable to find those results, or it directs the user to Google Search.
Also, allegedly showing a pro-life bent, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri was reportedly not giving responses to any abortion clinics in China when requested, instead directing users to other services. With China’s one-child-per-family policy, abortions are very common in China.
According to a recent online poll of more than 2,000 respondents in China, Apple Inc. (NASDA:AAPL) Siri was labeled as “very powerful” by more than one-third of respondents, and its responses to search requests were some of the most discussed topics on a Chines Twitter-like social-media site. Nearly two in five respondents in the poll believe that Siri should be a tool that the country should use in its next anti-vice campaign because of its influence.