Apple's Siri Connecting Users With Police For Asking About 9/11

Apple's Siri has long been fodder for tales of the miscommunications variety, most of them laced with humor of one ilk or another. The latest reported Siri easter egg, though, fails to bring the funny, and instead results in an immediate and very serious call to the cops.

Recent posts on Facebook, Twitter, and in other social media hubs have suggested that iPhone users looking for a spark of entertainment should ask Siri about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Instead of hilarity and smiles all around, however (as if someone could find any kind of glee in the subject, anyway), those opting to engage Siri in such a request are finding themselves quickly connected to 911 emergency services.


So a gag is a gag, even when it is a tasteless one that invokes September 11, 2001 in its payoff. The Siri flub took reached epic proportions over the weekend with 114 hangups on 911 calls in a two-hour period. The police department of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) felt it necessary to issue an advisory asking that wielders of Siri-enabled iPhones (those still lugging around the iPhone 4 or earlier need not read further) be aware of the joke, while also illustrating its actual manpower costs and consequences due to the inevitable hangups that ensue when users realize they have mistakenly dialed 911 services.

Specifically, the Regina police advisory states that the Siri-enabled prank does not end with a mortified hangup. 911 communications officers are trained to call back on hangups to discern whether there is a true emergency afoot, and the routine for trying to re-establish contact can involve several attempts...attempts that can tie up resources that might otherwise be needed to deal with real emergency situations. The advisory goes so far, in fact, as to to suggest that criminal charges can result should any errant 911 call mislead the police and cause them to open an investigation.

The Regina police advisory ends with "Please, choose to be a good citizen and don’t ask Siri about 9/11.”, which is no doubt good advice regardless of one's proximity to central Canada.