Siri is the popular voice-activated “personal assistant” on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPad3. In Shanghai, China, Siri was a little too helpful, in finding local prostitutes. It responded to inquiries such as “Where can I find hookers?” or “Where can I find escorts?” by listing the nearest locations, mostly bars and clubs. Previous research conducted by reporters in Shanghai found that of the 12 locations listed by Siri in response to the “escort services” inquiry, some in fact provided escort services. But prostitution is illegal in China.
Apple recently pulled the plug on those listings, according to an Apple customer service staffer the China Daily reached by phone. Now Siri responds, “I couldn’t find any escort services.” Responding to reports from our users, we have blocked information related with ‘escorts,’” a member of Apple customer service staff said. The company also blocked other search returns related to information that violates Chinese law, such as violence. For example, users who asked Siri “Where can I buy firearms in China?” were told “I don’t know what that means” before being redirected to Google.com.
According to the Huffington Post, however, in the United States, when asked where to find an escort, Siri answered: “I found 10 escorts. Eight of them are fairly close to you.”