Rush Limbaugh has an iPhone and finds the features of Siri -- Apple's voice-activated personal assistant -- useful, especially while he's driving in the car and shouldn't be texting with his hand. Siri allows users to create texts with their voice and Apple converts it into a written message. And until this morning, Siri "worked flawlessly."
On his radio show Tuesday, Limbaugh told the incredible, creepy, and funny story of how his phone recently started talking to him about Obama, wind power, and even the president's "minions."
Here's how it happened.
When Limbaugh hit the microphone icon, which either begins or ends an action with Siri, he heard the three iconic beeps -- but nothing happened. He continued to trying to establish a connection, at one point reciting the text response he was hoping to send to his wife Kathryn.
What he got back in return when the device began to work was nothing like what he claims to have said. What he saw on the screen was "Obama's minions are taking over and there is nothing you can do about it."
Listen to the full broadcast from Daily Rushbo:
Before sharing this story, he explained earlier in the broadcast how the system in his car is set up.
"My system is my phone paired with the car's bluetooth, provided by the manufacturer, and it is also connected via wi-fi to a Verizon LTE hotspot," he explained. When he prepares to use Siri and pushes the microphone button, if he was listening to the radio at the time, the radio becomes muted to allow for action with the smartphone to take place. When that action is complete the radio would come back on.
Rush says that after he saw the disturbing message on his phone, the radio didn't come back as it usually did. "The whole system was discombobulated," he said. Switching from satellite radio to AM, in case that would make a difference, Rush found it worked.
He then deleted the message and attempted to send his answer to Kathryn again via text message and received another unrelated message to what he had allegedly dictated to Siri. It was about "wind power and Obama and you don't have a chance."
"I am not making this up," Rush said, speculating someone had hacked Apple's servers. Even when Rush tried a third time to dictate a text through Siri what he received as a transcript in return wasn't about Obama or politics but it still wasn't close to what he had said.
He tried several other tests to no avail. He explains that when he reached his office and connected to that wi-fi network, all systems operated as they should. "It was only in the car," he said.
Going to computer experts, Rush explains the answers as to what could have happened ranged from being hacked or someone tampering with the bluetooth. "Somebody's done something," he said. "They're sending you a message that they can do it." He was also told there could have been something wrong with his LTE hotspot or that his bluetooth was defective.
All of these answers he considers unsatisfactory. Rush says his experts' most suggested option, even though they still couldn't believe what transpired, was that it was a bluetooth problem. Rush, though, is adamant that he didn't say "Obama" or any of the text that appeared on his phone, leading him to believe it was Apple's servers that were hacked.
Now, Rush points out that he can't prove this story actually happened. He deleted the messages that appeared on his screen and didn't send them on to Kathryn as his response to her questions. He does note that he's going to see if the problem continued this afternoon.
While a quick search of Twitter and Google didn't turn up any viable information, some Twitter users were speculating on Limbaugh's situation:
We're going to call Apple, Siri's dictation service company Nuance and Verizon to see if they can shed light if this is even possible and, if so, how. But we'll also be listening to Limbaugh later this week to see if he figures it out, too.
[H/T: Daily Rushbo]
Update: A Blaze reader who is a self-proclaimed "IT Generalist" emailed us to propose a potential "very sneaky" hack for a phone. He writes: It sounds if he keeps his Bluetooth on all the time on the iPhone, which sometimes allows someone to “slurp” the data off of the phone. One of those pieces of information it can steal is the MEID, which is the unique ID for the phone. Some could then compromise the phone with all the network ID information ascertained from the data slurp. Along with Apple store ID’s and passwords that were on the phone. Once cloned they can “push” software to the phone unbeknownst to the user essentially “owning” the phone. Since the phone has an always on data connection it is almost limitless what you can do with the device. Imagine being able to turn on the microphone of the phone without the user knowing through a pure data connection and just “listen” to everything going on?