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Siri and iCloud Banned at IBM Headquarters over Security Risks

Wired points to a recent Technology Review interview with IBM chief information officer Jeanette Horan highlighting the issues of the "bring your own device" trend in which employees choose their own mobile devices to bring to the workplace and use for company business. But even when employees wish to use their own devices, IBM locks down a number of features for security reasons, cutting off access to Siri, iCloud, and Dropbox among other services.

Horan calls IBM's security outlook "extremely conservative", noting that the company is concerned about Siri queries being stored on Apple's servers. As Wired notes, Apple does indeed store such information in order to perform transcription and offer results, as well as keeping it for some time in order to help improve overall performance.
It turns out that Horan is right to worry. In fact, Apple’s iPhone Software License Agreement spells this out: “When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text,” Apple says. Siri collects a bunch of other information — names of people from your address book and other unspecified user data, all to help Siri do a better job.

How long does Apple store all of this stuff, and who gets a look at it? Well, the company doesn’t actually say. Again, from the user agreement: “By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and other Apple products and services.”

Because some of the data that Siri collects can be very personal, the American Civil Liberties Union put out a warning about Siri just a couple of months ago.
Apple is far from the only company to store users' personal information on its servers, but its popularity unsurprisingly places the company in the spotlight and is a particular focus for those such as corporate security personnel seeking to maintain privacy and control over such data.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 25 months ago
IBM doesn't want proprietary information dictated to Siri because it will be stored on Apple's server. Not surprising.
Rating: 29 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago
So they should ban all search engines and all Google products then?
Rating: 15 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago

IBM doesn't want proprietary information dictated to Siri because it will be stored on Apple's server. Not surprising.


Exactly. I'm surprised you don't hear about it more. Even though data protection is a common sense thing, I wouldn't put my company's stuff into my iCloud account. And I certainly wouldn't put anthing of critical value on my iPhone, even password protected.
Rating: 10 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago
Sooo, don't use the corporate wifi on your phone. I wouldnt want my bosses knowing what Im doing on the intraweb anyway.
Rating: 8 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago

This is an underhanded move by IBM. /QUOTE]

How is it ever underhanded!? IBM feel that SIRI is a security risk so they block it.

In fact, many organizations cut off access to certain websites / ports ( i.e., no FTP ). At my place of work we cannot get to social networks, FTP, nor can we get to the iTunes Appstore or MAS.

This story is a bit of a non story, really.

Rating: 7 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago
I think this should be the least concern of IBM...
Rating: 7 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago
Well, I guess IBM is a too big of a company to move along with new technologies. Policies are outdated and it takes years to update them - once they are updated, they are already out dated since technology moved on. It is amazing how big cooperations can stand in their own way and not adjust ... glad I work for a small technology startup that goes with the time.
Rating: 6 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago

IBM has secrets? dont they just release one ****** computer after another with slightly updated specs?


IBM no longer make PCs, and haven't done so for a number years....
Rating: 5 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago
Its a completely understandable concern. Apple are in effect second to Google now when it comes to your personal information. It wont be long before this silly fad of 'Google is evil because they personalize adverts based on what I search for' turns into 'Apple is evil because they customize my TV adverts based on where my iPhone has been'.

The fact is, information is a valuable asset. Apple WILL collect as much information as they can as it increases ad revenue, which Apple WILL rely on with the rumored upcoming TV.

As for the cloud stuff, I'd personally not be too worried about that. iCloud is pants compared to anything Amazon, Google or IBM have done in the cloud.
Rating: 5 Positives
Posted: 25 months ago

This is an underhanded move by IBM. Reminds me of a situation in Atlas Shrugged when a large "unbiased" organization comes out and says they aren't sure if a new steel is safe to use in a public project like building a railroad, which of course makes everyone afraid to ride on said rails out of fear of the unknown. Same applies here, IBM is playing the "we can't be sure of its security" card to pretty much make people question the iCloud service.


And what exactly would IBM gain from making people question the iCloud service? Do you have any proof that IBM's motivation is what you claim it to be?

Have you thought that maybe IBM doesn't want security leaks? Imagine: You're the VP of hardware engineering and you're meeting with a component supplier to discuss manufacturing ramp-up of a new product you plan on releasing in 6 months. You use Siri to setup appointments and/or dictate a message to the supplier. Would you want this transmitted to a cloud-based server that you have no control over, especially knowing Apple's terms of service allow Apple and its business partners to use the data as they see fit?

This isn't a "Let's instill fear in the public" move by IBM; it's actually sensible on their part.

This mentality of bashing anything that could potentially be construed as anti-Apple really is pathetic.
Rating: 5 Positives

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