IBM bans Siri from iPhones over security concerns

IBM has caused a stir by banning Siri from staff iPhones.

The company claims that it is concerned that Siri will leak confidential information and has disabled it on staff iPhones.

The reason for IBMs concern is the way that Siri works. The iPhone 4S’s voice-recognition feature works by recording your voice and sending it to a server that interprets what you’ve said and returns plain text. Siri actually becomes better at translating because it effectively crowd-sources dialects, learning from other people who are using the service.

It’s the fact that this recording of what you said is sent to Apple’s server that IBM isn’t happy about.

The idea that Apple could be collecting information about IBM secrets seems a bit farfetched, however, it is thought that Siri may recently have experienced a security breach. American talk show host Rush Limbaugh described a technical problem with his iPhone and Apple’s Siri voice assistant, encountered on his drive to work, there is some debate as to whether this was user error, or if Siri was hacked.

IBM is an advocate of BYOD (bring your own device) – a trend that sees companies allowing their staff to use their own Macs, PCs, phones and tablets at work. According to research, BYOD has already been embraced by 69 per cent of UK firms.

The Siri ban is just one of a number of strict security measures implemented by IBM on devices bought into the company by employees. According to Cult of Mac, IBM leverages the mobile device management (MDM) framework built into iOS to disable Siri on every iPhone 4S.

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