IBM blocks Siri over privacy concerns

If you happen to be an IBM’er who owns an iPhone, you will no longer be able to use Siri, at least while in the office.

Facing growing privacy concerns pertaining to the “bring your own device (BYOD)” trend, many companies are attempting to figure out ways to ensure private company data is protected. Several mobile services store some of your personal data, be it contact lists or voice search history on your device, leaving certain data ripe for the picking. Siri is a well-known offender, and Apple’s privacy policy openly states that they store your Siri search items on its servers to better improve Siri and other Apple products and services.

“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.” – Apple

While individuals are extremely concerned about the privacy of their information, corporations take it to a whole new level. Corporations often block social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter from being accessed on company computers, and several actually block non-work email as well. IBM has taken action to block Siri from being accessed by employees connected to IBM’s networks; employees connected to the IBM network will get the infamous “Sorry, I’m not able to connect right now” message when attempting to interact with Siri.

It’s unclear from the report how IBM is implementing the Siri ban. It could be that Siri is banned while connected to IBM’s WiFi network, similar to how they’re able to block individual websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Alternatively, when you link a corporate email account to your phone, companies often require you to grant remote wipe access in the event your device is lost or stolen. They can also implement security measures such as forcing you to have a password to unlock your device. If they can use these security measures to block Siri, IBM’s BYOD users will never be able to access Siri from their device unless they un-link their IBM corporate account.

One thing’s for sure; if you are an IBM employee who also owns an iPhone, you should probably get used to not relying on Siri as your personal assistant.

[via Wired, Technology Review]


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