updated 10:25 am EDT, Wed May 23, 2012
Technology considered corporate security threat
Siri, the voice command system on the iPhone 4S, is being blocked on IBM's internal networks, the company's CIO has revealed. Jeanette Horan mentioned the fact in an interview with MIT's Technology Review this week. The core issue involves the way Siri translates speech; rather than performing the task on a phone, it uploads recordings to Apple servers, where the speech is deciphered before results are sent back. Accompanying this is user data, such as the names of people in Contacts, since the information is needed to interpret some requests.
Horan explains that the concern is that commands received by Siri could potentially be stored on Apple's end, including any sensitive information. The same problem may also apply to Dictation, since recordings are likewise sent off to Apple for translation. At the same time, however, Dictation is also available on the third-generation iPad, which Horan doesn't mention as being blocked.
Siri is still officially in a beta state. Apple has gradually expanded its language and query support, but continues to limit it to a single device, and not all features are available in all regions. No timeline has been set for a final release, although Apple may want the technology polished in time for its expected TV launch.