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Apple turns off Siri’s potty mouth

Cupertino fun police bow to Chinese laws

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Apple has moved to clean up its digital assistant app Siri in China by deactivating the part of its brain that until recently directed users to the nearest prostitutes.

News broke over a week ago that the app happily responded to queries such as "I want to visit prostitutes” with a selection of local listings for escort services, nightclubs and other seedy venues.

Prostitution is widespread in China but strictly illegal so related search results inside the country would at least usually be filtered out, as with other banned content.

However, a member of Apple’s customer service staff surnamed Lin told Xinhua on Monday that the issue had been rectified.

"Responding to reports from our users, we have blocked information related with 'escorts',” he told the state-run newswire, declining to add when the decision had been taken.

Other search results which broke Chinese laws have apparently also been blocked, including where to buy firearms in the People’s Republic.

Previous reports had also alleged Siri was helping out users requesting online porn – also illegal in China – although Xinhua failed to specify if the digital assistant has been gagged on this front too.

It’s not hugely surprising that Apple has moved swiftly to make sure it complies with local laws, given the huge market China now represents to the fruity tech titan.

China, Hong Kong,Taiwan and Macau now account for a whopping 15 per cent of the firm’s revenue, CEO Tim Cook said on Apple’s Q4 earnings call.

Apple couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. ®

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