Is Apple looking to police the use of their devices? Patent for spyware submitted

Just weeks after the US Copyright Office announced that Apple locking the iPhone and other devices from running unapproved apps and programs is an unfair restriction on consumers fair usage rights, it has become clear that Apple has applied for a patent on technology that amongst other things would allow Apple to identify and take action against those using their devices in an unapproved way.

The ruling from the Copyright Office does make sense to most people except for Apple it seems. As a consumer we should have the right to do as we please with the device that we have legally bought, including installing any software or programs that we would like (within the limits of the law of course).

Apple’s latest patent application is surely an answer to the Copyright Office ruling as the patent is a roadmap for how Apple can, and most likely will, spy on its customers use of their products. As spying on your customers is bad enough, this patent will actually allow Apple to take action against you and your use of what they deem “unapproved usage”.

The patent application provides for a device that can investigate a user’s identity to determine if it could be an “unauthorized” user, or that the device could be stolen. Basically the patent would allow for technology that would grant Apple the right to record voice of the device, take a photo of the user or their current location. If it is deemed as unauthorized usage they could also take action, such as wipe the device and remotely store users sensitive data, shutting down the device.

As far as we can tell there is no information about the restrictions of Apple’s collection and usage of user data based on this technology, or how they can use it or who they can share it with.

We can see that in its purest form this patent could do some good in terms of rendering a stolen device useless, but it also opens up so many creepy doors that we have to question Apple’s true motive behind this.

Unless terms are clearly stipulated around the usage that this patent application opens up for we would definitely have to reconsider our own use of Apple products. So we challenge Steve Jobs or anyone else from Apple to clarify how they envision using this technology, and how they will protect their customers privacy and user rights.


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