A viral social media campaign encouraging iPhone users to say the number 108 to Siri as a “prank” is going viral. For reasons known only to Apple, saying that to Siri tells her to call the emergency services.
US police say the scam is spreading across Facebook and Twitter like wildfire, and when iPhone users test out the Siri command “just for fun,” they’re actually tying up phone lines at emergency call centers.
Sergeant Adrian Page with the Lonoke Police Department in Arkansas in a Facebook post that has gone viral with more than 1,100 shares. “It is designed specifically as a panic code. For the emergency services number in India. “
As CNET reports, Apple wanted to make it easy for people to contact emergency services from anywhere in the world, so telling Siri any country’s emergency number will connect you to the service for where you are. You could ask Siri to call 911 if you are visiting the UK, and it would dial 999 for local assistance.
While the Tame Apple Press is going lightly on Apple for this problem, it really is a bit of shonky code. Apple phones are very expensive and come with sensors that know which country they are in and where they were bought from. Siri should default to thinking that in the unlikely event of someone from India, is visiting the US, would want to call the emergency services, and use the Indian number.