Police: ‘Don’t ask Siri about 9/11’

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Siri
Oh, Siri. You trickster.

Everybody loves a good Siri Easter egg, but they aren’t always “ha-ha” funny.

The city of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, has apparently seen some serious fallout in the wake of the latest viral “Ask Siri about … ” trend.

If you say “Okay, Google” to Siri, or ask it what the fox says, you’re going to get something funny — or at least funny-ish — in return. Apple’s digital assistant comes preprogrammed with a bunch of responses both silly and earnest. But if you ask Siri about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as recent posts on social media have suggested, the only thing that happens is that your phone will call 911 emergency services. And the CBC reports that this has caused a spate of unwanted hangup calls in Regina that tie up police resources.

“The Regina Police Service has a request for iPhone users after an unusually high number of 9-1-1 hang-up calls to the Communications Centre over the weekend,” a news release from the Regina Police Service says. “The messages on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media prompt people with a teaser like, ‘Say 9/11 into Siri and you’ll be amazed,’ or ‘When you say 9/11 to Siri, her response is hilarious. The response isn’t hilarious. What happens next is.”

We’ve been able to find a few instances of this sucker-bait online (e.g. “If you go on siri & say 9/11 it shows you the weirdest thing…” on one Tumblr page and this haplessness on Yahoo Answers). But it’s hard to say how prevalent or common it’s been. All we know is that it’s been a big enough problem that the Regina Police felt compelled to issue a news release.

When one accidentally dial 911 and an operator answers, their first impulse is probably to hang up. But the operator has to verify every call to make sure they aren’t missing any actual emergencies. This means that they have to call back and check to see if the person who was just asking a robot for details on a horrifying national tragedy has been stabbed or something. And this ties up resources.

“The Regina Police Service is asking people to be aware of the consequences of this latest fad,” the statement concludes. “We are fortunate, so far, that there haven’t been real 911 emergencies where help has been delayed. Please, choose to be a good citizen and don’t ask Siri about 9/11.”