IBM shows Siri the door, locks it behind her

IBM admits that Siri is not welcome within its confines. The reason? Well, all the questions IBMers ask her might be stored somewhere.

"Hey, Siri. Did you get that scan of Watson's brain for me?" Apple Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

She's always seemed like a caring, friendly woman to me -- one with a little steel, to be sure, but who doesn't like that? Yet it seems that the bosses at IBM think Siri just can't be trusted.

Indeed, Wired reports that Apple's digital butlerette has been banned from IBM's firmament.

Surely, this must be some exaggeration, you might think. Surely there's no way of preventing an IBMer from whispering to his digital factotum in the restroom.

Well, Wired is relying on the words of Big Blue's CIO, Jeanette Horan. For she told MIT's Technology Review the following: "We're just extraordinarily conservative. It's the nature of our business."

How strange. I thought technology was all about breaking boundaries, rather than preserving them. But Horan confirmed that the company doesn't allow Siri to be activated on any personal iPhones that employees use to access Big Blue's corporate network.

The fear, apparently, is that any questions might be stored on remote servers -- and then Apple's security people will access to those servers and discover that the majority of IBM employees use their phones to get soup recipes and movie recommendations.

Of course, I exaggerate about the last part. I think.

Siri is not the only helpful tool to be banned at IBM. Dropbox is unwelcome, as is Apple's iCloud. Some IBM employees even have restrictions placed on them when it comes to accessing to, say, internal IBM apps and files.

In the past, it seems, IBM was rather fond of the security BlackBerry offered. But now a mere 40,000 BlackBerrys circulate among its 400,000 employees.

What is odd is that Horan seems to believe many employees just don't understand the importance of security. She told Technology Review that a large number were "blissfully unaware" that certain apps might not be terribly secure.

It does also seem odd, though, that IBM is more paranoid than Hollywood. I had always imagined that if stars like Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel trusted Siri, then everyone could.

And yet it seems that is not the case.

By the way, I hear IBM is developing a smartphone with a 5-inch screen. Siri told me.

 

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