The New York Times reports that Apple has released a statement claiming that the controversy over Siri, the new iPhone voice software, is the result of a glitch, and was not intentional.
This week, controversy emerged over a lack of information provided by Siri when it comes to helping women who are seeking abortions, emergency contraception and birth control, among other things. Bloggers, who initially discovered the glitch, found the exemption troubling, writing that Siri is typically very helpful in providing information on almost anything else.
Bloggers also found that the software, in some cases, directed women to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) when they were seeking an abortion. CPCs have been known to mislead women seeking abortions in an effort to persuade them not to have the procedure done. They are typically religious centers that offer little to no medical services.
However, the Times reports that none of this was deliberate:
The company attributed the problem to kinks in the product that were still being ironed out. Siri is officially still a beta or test product.
“Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of information, and while it can find a lot, it doesn’t always find what you want,” said Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Apple, in a phone interview late Wednesday. “These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone. It simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better, and we will in the coming weeks.”
Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, announced yesterday that she sent a letter to the CEO of Apple voicing concern over aspects of the software. Anti-abortion advocates also commented on the news: One activist wrote a press release saying that she hopes “Apple remains steadfast and does not cave under any pressure brought by the abortion industry to start marketing abortion clinics.” The activist also said “this is a huge win for women and a significant step in the right direction.”