Phil Muncaster reports that the Apple patent “Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorised Users of an Electronic Device”, filed in February but published this week, is designed to detect and restrict the unauthorised use of iGadgets.
The technology described goes some way beyond that associated with current embodiments of the iPhone, iPod and iPad, including basic biometric detection of unauthorized use by comparing the image, voice or heartbeat of the authorized user to the current user.
However, Muncaster suggests, probably correctly, that some will focus on the use of the term “suspicious behavior” to include “activities such as … hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device”.
However, if the intention really was add a little extra value to the patent by beefing up Apple’s ability to vent its disapproval of jailbreaking, its effectiveness has been damaged by the US Copyright Office ruling made subsequent to the filing of the patent, while it’s also been suggested recently that measures to discourage jailbreaking in Europe could also put Apple on shaky legal grounds.
Nonetheless, the patent may be sufficiently wide-ranging to offer enhanced protection to users – at any rate, users who keep to the terms of their licence agreement with Apple. On the other hand, it’s also likely to have interesting knock-on effects for other manufacturers of smartphones and such who are going down similar technological paths.
David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
Mac Virus Administrator
Small Blue-Green World