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Apple's CEO Responds to a Siri-us Matter

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More on Siri, the personal-assistant application on Apple's iPhone 4S:

Yesterday, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook expressing her concerns that Siri was not giving women accurate answers when they asked about finding birth control or obtaining abortion care.

Well, late last night, Mr. Cook responded:


Thanks for your note.

Our customers use Siri to find out all types of information and while it can find a lot, it doesn't always find what you want. These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone, it simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better and we will in the coming weeks.

I appreciate you pointing this out.

Best Regards,

And here's what Nancy wrote back to Mr. Cook:


Thanks so much for your prompt response.

I am glad to see you're committed to working out the kinks Siri is experiencing. I would like to share a TV report from last night in which the reporter illustrates the key concerns we have with the app's advice in its current state.

As I wrote in the letter, while Siri is not the principal resource for women's health care, it is important that the women who are using this application not be misled about their reproductive-health options. Our door is open to work with your team to ensure this happens as Siri exits the beta phase.


Here's that TV report from WUSA Channel 9 that Nancy mentioned:

What's particularly troubling is that, on numerous occasions, when people asked Siri where to find an abortion provider, "she" directed them to an anti-choice "crisis pregnancy center" (CPC).

CPCs do not provide abortion care. In fact, these operations exist to scare women away from choosing safe, legal abortion.

Often, CPCs use deceptive tactics to trick women seeking abortion care into coming through their doors.

It looks like these tactics deceived Siri, too.

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