X

Siri heckles UK defense secretary as he speaks to Parliament

Apple's virtual assistant pipes up with information about Syria at the worst possible time.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper

Sometimes, Siri just goes ahead and inserts herself into conversations that don't require her assistance. Never more so than on Tuesday, when Apple's virtual assistant decided the UK Parliament needed to hear from her.

As UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson spoke to members of Parliament about events in Syria, his mobile phone piped up from inside his jacket pocket, loud enough to be heard by the audience.

"I found something on the web for, 'in Syria, Syrian democratic forces supported by...'" Siri blurted.

As others laughed, Williamson apologized and declared, "It is very rare that you're heckled by your own mobile phone."

The politician took it in stride, later tweeting, "One of the pitfalls of having a new iPhone  ... I must ask my 13-year-old daughter how to use it! #NewiPhone #Siri "

But some criticized Williamson for leaving his phone on in the first place. Wrote one Twitter user, "You do understand that as Defence Secretary having Siri on Always Listen is a catastrophically bad idea from a national security point of view, right?"