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Siri to blame for Toronto sports bar getting calls for escorts

The Meltdown eSports Bar, located in Toronto’s Little Italy district, opened in November 2016. The bar uses the cellphone number of Alvin Acyapan, one of the establishment’s co-owners, and right after the bar opened Acyapan began receiving a lot of telephone calls.

The calls, many of the made late at night, increased in frequency as time went on. Although this would normally be good for business, the callers were asking for prostitutes or escorts. At first, Acyapan thought the reason for the calls were wrong numbers; people were trying to call an escort service that had a phone number similar to his. But on Sunday, one of the callers was nice enough to tell him he used Apple’s voice activated personal assistant, Siri, to help him find an escort.

Acyapan believes he is getting the calls because “eSports” sounds like “escorts” and poor Siri is confused. The Toronto Star tested his theory by asking Siri where to find prostitutes, escorts and hookers. In each instance, Siri provided the name, phone number and location of the Meltdown eSports Bar.

China also had problems with Siri and prostitution

Back in 2012, GMA News Online reported people in China were using Siri to look for prostitutes. Those who asked, “Where can I find hookers?” or “Where can I find escorts?” were directed to various bars and clubs.

Prostitution and escort services are illegal in China and a lot of people were upset about Siri helping to locate prostitutes. In October of that year, a representative of Apple Inc. said Siri’s use of providing escort services had been effectively blocked. Anyone asking Siri about escorts was told, “I could not find any escort services.”

Acyapan has contacted Apple to try and fix the problem but has not heard back. Apple Inc. has also not replied to requests for information made by The Toronto Star and Global News.

For the time being, Acyapan has no intention of changing his phone number. He sees the humour in what is happening although he hopes there will not be any negative effect to his business. It is not likely there will be.

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