It seems we hear (or read) every day about a new security concern regarding a mobile device, its apps, or a new feature of either one. It’s the price we pay for being jacked in to technology 24 hours a day, and every developer has worked out their own safeguards against hackers, both for their own safety and that of their customers.
Now, a seemingly innocuous app has a major company concerned for its security and has banned its use within their walls. Siri, the personal assistant app developed for the iPhone, is causing a lot of talk lately because of bugs in her system and because of some rather silly ads starring Zooey Deschanel and Samuel L. Jackson, but now the talk is shifting to more serious matters: is the use of Siri safe?
If you’re one of those people who reads the user agreement before you download something, you might have noticed that Siri’s reads like this: “When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text. 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.”
That means everything you say to Siri is accessible to Apple and the company’s employees, including the other night when you drunkenly called her a bitch for not finding the number for Pizza Hut fast enough. More importantly, any sensitive info you share with Siri is transmitted and recorded, and IBM doesn’t take kindly to that. They’ve given their employees permission to use personal devices for work and at home, but they have to agree to let IBM install software which will allow them to delete certain information by remote should they believe it to be compromised.
While all this sounds a bit extreme–and makes me wonder what exactly IBM is so protective of–it pays to never be too careful these days, when everyone and their uncle has access to a computer or handheld device and shady characters are well versed in hacking.