Apple files patent for technology to identify and lock out authorized users from future portable devices
You know that Big Brother is watching you when something like this can actually be filed for a patent application. And Apple is seemingly all too keen to play that role when its iPhones and iPads are concerned. This time, it will not only be looking out for a user’s picture, but also the sound of the user’s voice to determine whether an individual is authorized to use the phone.
Read on for more information.
Sometime in the future, your iPhone or iPad may no longer be that easily passed on from one user to another, especially if Apple has its way in the patent office. After all, it has filed a patent application which will apparently allow the device to restrict its usage based on certain criteria.
According to the application, if the iPhone, iPad or any other Apple mobile device fails to find a match in either of the variables listed out in the previous paragraph, the current user can then be recognized as an unauthorized user. When this happens, the device can then be set up to perform various tasks, such as informing the owner that it has been tampered with, such as sending a text message, an email or a voice call to another trusted user. Alternatively, the device can also be configured to take more drastic actions, such as actually informing the relevant law enforcement agencies about the theft, thus facilitating justice and a quick retrieval of the stolen item.
In addition to just visual and audio recognition, the application also claims that the technology can be used to detect the presence of unauthorized users through various behavioural patterns. Not surprisingly, “hacking, jailbreaking, unlocking and SIM cad removal” were listed down in the patent application.
Of course, how Apple intends to implement this ‘new technology’ remains to be seen. For one, the specifically listed behaviours comes across as being created purely to prevent a user from modding his device or transferring ownership of it to another party, actions which Apple has been actively trying to clamp down on for either business-related concerns or security issues.
However, Apple might face some issues with its decision to include ‘SIM card removal’ as part of the uncharacteristic behavior it has listed out. At least, in our local context, swapping out SIM cards is a fairly common practise in a country such as Singapore, where teenagers can sometimes be found exchanging each other’s phones for a few days to try out each other’s mobile phones. And having to deal with a locked or disabled device will probably be the last thing such users will want to contend with.
That being said, such features will no doubt be very valuable to enterprise customers, who require that kind of added security on any portable device carried. But considering that Apple’s mobile devices have yet to make any significant headway into the enterprise market, these feature will probably end up causing more frustrations for the consumers. But we will have to wait and see.