Stories began to circulate on Tuesday claiming that Apple’s artificial intelligence program, Siri, related law enforcement officers to terrorists. Now, Apple is apologizing for their mistake.
On Tuesday Law Enforcement Today reported that after an update released by Apple, users began to notice Siri’s odd response when asked “hey Siri, where are the terrorists?” Instead of asking users to clarify or rephrase the question Siri directed them to the nearest police station.
This is UNBELIEVABLE!
Ask Siri where the terrorists are#siri should explain!!!!
I'm local to southern Indiana / Louisville ky pic.twitter.com/0sw1lp9oke
— Your Favorite Blonde Martian (@BlondeMartian) September 22, 2020
iPhone owners and law enforcement officers were quick to respond with outrage and demanded that Siri’s response be fixed.
This is absolutely unacceptable. If you ask Siri “where are the terrorists?” in iOS 14, it will pull up your local police department(s).
— Gabriel Hardin (@gabrielhardin_) September 22, 2020
Following the disapproval by users Apple quickly and quietly changed Siri’s response. Now when asked where are the terrorists Siri states:
“I don’t know how to respond to that.”
Apple officially responded to the controversy later on Wednesday with an explanation for the mistake. The statement given to Valley News Live read:
“Siri directs users to the police when they make requests that indicate emergency situations. In this case, Siri misinterpreted the query as users wanting to report terrorist activity to police.”
Valley News Live also interviewed Lt. Derik Zimmel with the Grand Forks Police Department. Lt. Zimmel gave Apple the benefit of the doubt and claimed that the glitch isn’t too far fetched:
“That actually does make some sense because if someone does suspect that there are terroristic activities within the community, it’s very hard to get a direct line to the FBI.”
Lt. Zimmer’s response offers an optimistic view that Siri’s response was unintentional as Apple claims. But, as LET reported Tuesday, not all officers might be as forgiving:
“As mentioned before, at this point it really doesn’t even matter if this was some nefarious act by Apple or some employee to castigate police by manipulating search results.
Because while Apple clarifying the issue might appease some people – there’s still going to be a reasonably large sect of people that even if matters were explained with 100% honesty that “it was just a mistake”, these folks might not believe that to be the case.”
The President of the Kings County Deputy Sheriff’s Association Nate Ferrier echoed this sentiment in an interview aired on Wednesday night. Ferrier told FOX 26 News:
“It’s suspicious because in the season we’re in law enforcement is under a lot of scrutiny. There’s a lot of anti-law enforcement rhetorical all over the place, and so the timing of it is just very odd.”
Yesterday, if you asked Siri, "Where are the terrorists?" you'd be provided contact info for local law enforcement agencies. Apple has apologized and changed that. I talked with the President of the Kings County Deputy Sheriff's Association who says he isn't buying the apology. pic.twitter.com/Q3iYkJjmA0
— Marie Edinger KMPH (@MarieEdinger) September 24, 2020
To prove his point Ferrier asked Siri how to report terrorist activity. Siri responded by listing contact information for governmental agencies including Homeland Security, the list did not include local law enforcement agencies.
This simple contradiction in Siri’s response creates doubt that the glitch was unintentional. The argument against Apple becomes even more damning after looking into Siri’s history with demonized law enforcement officers.
In July Law Enforcement Today reported that Siri had a different glitch that referred to police officers as demons. When users asked Siri what a demon was one of the definitions included “a police officer.”
Given Siri’s record of poorly thought out programming it more than likely that Apple was attempting to garner publicity and quickly backtracked after getting such a bad reaction.
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Read the full story of Siri’s response here:
WASHINGTON D.C. – Apple may be in a bit of hot water, but they might not know it yet. On September 22nd, a strange thing started occurring for Apple products like iPhones and iPads when users would ask the following question:
“Hey Siri, where are the terrorists?”
While a bizarre question to ask Siri, what was even more strange was the results delivered.
Specifically, numerous people started getting results notifying them of the closest police stations.
So, is Apple in some way linking terrorism with police officers?
That would be a bold company position if that is the case.
Or is this the result of perhaps some rogue programmer manipulating this specific search result query?
This is the most unusual series of search results to crop up when asking the aforementioned to a proprietary search engine enhancement tool.
Honestly – this author can’t tell whether this was something intentionally done by Apple and/or an employee because of anti-police rhetoric or whether this is some kind of strange reaction by Siri’s algorithm when hearing the word “terrorist” to suggest contacting the local police.
Quite frankly, I’m hoping it’s the latter of the two possible scenarios – but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the anti-police nonsense either.
In modern times, things that look like they’re anti-police dog whistles are a coin toss on whether they genuinely are silent or veiled jabs at law enforcement.
I mean we’re living in an era where the old prison tattoo “ACAB” – which was ironically “political ink” for neo-Nazis, Peckerwoods, and the Aryan Brotherhood in prison – is now being chanted by Black Lives Matter enthusiasts.
Nothing is surprising when it comes to the BLM crowd and their enablers, which means that even if this is some honest mistake in Siri’s algorithm – good luck convincing those who support police officers.
Because with all that has happened in the past several months, there has been one type of attack after another against police and their supporters, in both literal and metaphorical manners.
If you poison the proverbial well enough times, every sip of water that tastes off is going to trigger a concern that the water has been intentionally spoiled.
And in the case of these Siri results about where terrorists are located with delivering nearby police stations – people online are already talking.
Just browsing the likes of both Twitter and Facebook, numerous people are sharing their screenshots of what happens when they ask Siri “where are the terrorists.”
And can you guess what some of the words being used are to describe the perception of the delivered search results?
Overall, the general consensus is that Apple is trying to malign police officers – so whether that was/is the case or not – it doesn’t matter, because people already believe that it’s the case.
And neither I nor just about any reasonable person could blame someone for jumping to that conclusion these days.
Because police officers have been getting scat on like some sort of public toilet from just about every perceivable corner.
If you have an IPhone. Ask Siri “where are the terrorist’s”. See what pops up. Tell me that wasn’t deliberate….
— PM0 (@Opper223) September 22, 2020
Major media outlets are lambasting police, elected officials are passing judgement on officers during open investigations, officers have been maligned as being a part of “systemic racism” and Heaven forbid a police officer hops on Twitter to see the amalgamation of ACAB-laced comments and profiles.
So of course, police, and their supporters, are going to think that search engine results delivered by Siri are trying to sneak in one extra insult at the expense of law enforcement officers.
As mentioned before, at this point it really doesn’t even matter if this was some nefarious act by Apple or some employee to castigate police by manipulating search results.
Because while Apple clarifying the issue might appease some people – there’s still going to be a reasonably large sect of people that even if matters were explained with 100% honesty that “it was just a mistake”, these folks might not believe that to be the case.
[Editor’s note: This will be an interesting incident to watch for the reaction of the company. So many “woke” companies have been quick to condemn police, but with many police departments utilizing Apple’s products, we will have to see whether they jump on the anti-police bandwagon or if they show any type of support for the police.
Check back to Law Enforcement Today for updates on this.
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