Warning: Siri ‘joke’ illegally ties up emergency services

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COLUMBUS, Ga- Smartphones have changed the way we live, work, and play.

If you’re an iPhone user, chances are you rely upon Siri to make appointments, to get directions, and it’s relatively easy to do.

Greg: “Find the street address of WRBL News 3.”

Siri: “The street address for WRBL News 3 is 1350 13th Avenue”

And dialing emergency services is easier than you might imagine, too, thanks to a new prank that’s made the rounds on the Internet. It’s a prank that’s no laughing matter.  It involves telling Siri to dial the numbers “108.”

Siri: “Calling Emergency Services in five seconds . . .”

That’s because the number “108” in India is the equivalent of America’s 9-1-1.  Some versions of the so-called joke tell people to close their eyes and say the command.  Then, within five seconds, 9-1-1 is on the line.

“People need to be aware if someone gives you a code and says, ‘Close your eyes and say it,’ don’t say it., “ says Professor Charles Palmer of Harrisburg University.

But tying up emergency services for a prank is no joke. Those who do so can face serious legal consequences.

“Various charges. If a lot of police department resources or 911 center resources are utilized when handling that fake call,” says Corporal Adam Reed, of the Pennsylvania State Police.

So far, there’s no word on a fix from Apple to modify phones by region where phones in the United States will not dial 9-1-1 when given the “108” command. However, it’s very likely Apple can develop such a patch to prevent this in the future.

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