Censorship has been and always will be a serious issue amongst Americans. The most recent issue is the disturbing news that a recently published patent [but filed by Apple in 2008] for “Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device”. In short Apple is selling technology that offers the ability to remotely disable features on anyone’s iDevice.
The video below [posted on JaeSwiftTV] briefly addresses the concern:
Apple Can Block Your Phone Whenever They Want!?
BACKGROUND OF THE TECHNOLOGY
1. Field of Invention
The present invention relates generally to the field of wireless communications. More particularly, in one exemplary aspect, the present invention is directed to remotely enforcing operational policies on a wireless device upon the occurrence of a certain condition.
2. Description of Related Technology
As wireless devices such as cellular telephones, pagers, personal media devices and smartphones become ubiquitous, more and more people are carrying these devices in various social and professional settings. The result is that these wireless devices can often annoy, frustrate, and even threaten people in sensitive venues. For example, cell phones with loud ringers frequently disrupt meetings, the presentation of movies, religious ceremonies, weddings, funerals, academic lectures, and test-taking environments.
Excessive lighting emanating from wireless devices can also create disruption in dark environments. While it is well known that excessive or bright lighting in a movie theater can spoil the mood of certain movies, excessive lighting can also become a more serious issue in other contexts. For example, darkrooms used to develop film can only tolerate very low amounts of ambient lighting. Some biological labs also require low levels of lighting in certain instances (for example, as in the growth of light-sensitive bacteria). Covert police or government operations may require complete “blackout” conditions. A person’s sleep can even be interrupted by a bright flashing or modulating display (such as to indicate an incoming call).
Myriad other situations exist where the audible and/or visual ringing, alarm or alert functions of a wireless device are undesirable or even deleterious to the device owner or others.
Moreover, in certain situations, the communications capability that the wireless device accords to its user may be what poses the threat. For example, it is presently believed that drivers of automobiles are more likely to get into an automobile accident when they are distracted by a call on their cellular phone. Moreover, the communications functionality of wireless devices in airplanes and hospitals is presently believed to interfere with control equipment and instrumentation due to radiated electromagnetic energy, thereby jeopardizing the lives and safety of others.
Wireless devices therefore can create problems with excessive emanations of sound and light, and also by posing safety issues to others via electromagnetic radiation from their antenna. However, these are not the only problems presented by wireless devices. For example, a wireless camera hidden in an area or brought in by another individual (e.g., a cellular phone camera) where privacy is normally reasonably expected such as a department store changing room, bathroom or locker room is one example of a significant threat to such privacy. Additionally, the wireless transmission of sensitive information to a remote source is one example of a threat to security. This sensitive information could be anything from classified government information to questions or answers to an examination administered in an academic setting.
Unfortunately, the prior art does not effectively address the foregoing various problems associated with wireless devices, nor ways to mitigate their effects.
You can read the entire patent for yourself here.