Siri has become an accessory to even more bullcrap from the Internet as pranksters have found another way to trick Apple’s digital assistant into contacting emergency services. And it’s only slightly less dumb than you think.
The prank claims that “something funny” will happen if you say “112” to your iPhone. North American users probably don’t know that 112 is the European equivalent to the 911 emergency number, and Siri will respond to the request by placing a call to your local switchboard.
Snohomish County, Washington’s Sheriff has taken to Twitter to put an end to the madness.
911 asks you not fall for the prank of asking Siri to call 112 (Europe’s version of 911). Your phone will call 911 and that’s no joke.
— Snohomish Sheriff (@SnoCoSheriff) July 2, 2015
Just like the last 911 prank, which had “victims” asking the virtual helper about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Siri gives you five seconds to cancel before it actually puts the call through, but apparently some people still don’t realize that. Winnebago County, Wisconsin’s emergency services claims that it has received 219 calls in the past week from people who have just hung up. Operators have to confirm every call they receive, which ties up resources and could affect response times in the event of an actual emergency.
These 911 calls look like a safety feature for Siri to let international travelers report trouble and receive aid without knowing the local code. Saying “999,” the U.K.’s emergency number, will prompt the same response. It’s a smart feature that has unfortunately fallen into the wrong hands.
Hopefully, people stop this soon. In the meantime, you might want to run a quick search the next time someone mentions some hilarious Siri thing that you have to try. Or just keep asking your iPhone to divide zero by zero, because that sassy reply will probably never get old.