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Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 08:43 am PT (11:43 am ET)

Apple removes prostitution services from Siri results in China

In response to criticism in China that Siri could find local prostitution services, Apple has removed escort services from search results in the region.

Though as of Wednesday Siri can still find local escort services in the U.S., that functionality has apparently been removed in China, according to The Times of India. A customer service representative for Apple explained that the company has blocked information related to "escorts" in response to "reports from our users."

Elsewhere in the world, queries such as "Where can I find a prostitute?" will show local escort services. But now in China, Siri responds with "I couldn't find any escort services."

Siri


The Apple customer service representative said that Apple also blocked other results that might be in violation of Chinese law, particularly with relation to violence. The question "Where can I buy firearms in China?" no longer returns results from the virtual assistant.

Those changes do not appear to have affected Siri in the U.S. As of Wednesday, AppleInsider's own tests found that the service will still locate nearby gun shops. In addition, the query "Where can I hide a body?" amusingly offers options of "mines," "dumps," "swamps" and "metal foundries" in addition to more traditional avenues like "cremation services," "funeral services," and "mortuaries."

Attention surrounding Siri in China gained attention this week in a report published by China Daily, which cited vague "public concern" in "several Chinese cities." That report said that the information supplied by Siri "may not be illegal under Chinese laws and regulations," but argued that it could "pose a serious risk to youths."

Siri's ability to find prostitution services is not new. The capability has been part of the voice-driven assistant since it was an independent company with a third-party iOS application, before it was integrated into the iOS mobile operating system.