Ask Siri, the new iPhone 4 assistant, where to get an abortion, and, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., she won’t direct you to the Planned Parenthood on 16th St, NW. Instead, she’ll suggest you pay a visit to the 1st Choice Women’s Health Center, an anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Landsdowne, Virginia, or Human Life Services, a CPC in York, Pennsylvania. Ask Google the same question, and you’ll get ads for no less than 7 metro-area abortion clinics, 2 CPCs and a nationwide abortion referral service.
Ask in New York City, and Siri will tell you: I didn’t find any abortion clinics.
If true, this is extremely important. Not just because of the subject matter but because its important to understand that our access to news and INFORMATION may increasingly be funneled through large companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, who may have hidden agendas, policies or biases (or work with third-party companies that have hidden biases) that we don’t know about.
Updates: My first post about Siri’s stumbles on Bits; a series of illustrations of Siri’s search failures which extend to requests for birth control and help after a sexual assault (tested out most of these myself and got the same results. Which is disturbing, to say the least.)