Recently, the Siri feature on the Apple iPhone 4S has been getting a lot of attention because of a perception that it does not provide accurate information about abortions:
NARAL’s [National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League] president, Nancy Keenan, dashed off an email to Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook in which she complained: “In some cases, Siri is not providing your customers with accurate or complete information about women’s reproductive-health services.”
Apple claims that the behavior is NOT intentional:
“Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of information and while it can find a lot, it doesn’t always find what you want,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison said. “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.”
However even if Siri’s “anti-abortion” behavior WERE intentional, it would be entirely consistent with Apple’s policies concerning applications in their App Store that are “offensive to large groups of people”. Earlier this year, the Third Intifada app was removed, and in 2010 the Manhattan Declaration app was removed after a petition was presented with only 7,700 signatures.
Surely there are enough people opposed to abortion such that a petition with 7,000, or 70,000, or 700,000 or even more signatures could be presented to Apple indicating that abortion is offensive to large groups of people. No, Siri is not an app, but it is subject to Apple’s policies, and should therefore be held to the same standards as the App Store, standards which seem to be determined by mob rule, or at least by whomever submits their petition first.