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Dangerous Dual-Use Technology …

Apple has patented a control technology that could considered a two-edged sword. The commercial use could keep individuals from using devices to record concerts and other copyrighted materials. And then there is the more nefarious use: providing a mechanism for the government to kill the electronic recording of public events that may be embarrassing to the government or prove the government complicit in criminal activity. And, by government, I mean all levels: local, state, and federal.

The Apple Patent …

Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device


Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event. In one embodiment, the event comprises detecting that the wireless device is within range of one or more other devices. In another variant, the event comprises the wireless device associating with a certain access point. In this manner, various aspects of device functionality may be enabled or restricted (device "policies"). This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter "sleep mode" when entering a sensitive area.

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).

  • Inventors:
    Bell; Michael (Cupertino, CA), Lovich; Vitali (Toronto, CA)
  • Assignee:
    Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)
  • Family ID:
  • Appl. No.:
  • Filed:
    June 26, 2008



Source: United States Patent Office – Patent 8,254,902 - August 28, 2012




Bottom line …

It is bad enough that the hardware and software companies have built in Globally Unique IDentifiers in most electronic devices that create electronic files, be they audio, video, or text. Even some copiers and printers place a hidden code on each copy printed. Some advanced copiers have technology to detect the reproduction of currency and have the capability to transmit status information over a network.

Considering the recent revelations about the NSA’s collection raw electronic files and storing them – seeking access warrants only when they can prove probable cause; and then going back and sifting through all of your private data to build a case against you. Possibly using innocent comments to prove the “intent” element of a crime.

The government, especially under hyper-partisans of the past three decades, cannot be trusted to uphold the Constitution of the United States. In fact, Congress itself appears to be a clear and present danger to the welfare of the United States as they refuse to investigate and prosecute those who have usurped Congressional powers or those who have exceeded their constitutional authority. One would assume that the Congress would wonder why the legal representatives of the President of the United States have spent over $3 million trying to keep Obama’s birth certificate and other official records from being examined. Thus prolonging questions of the President’s eligibility – which could be cleared up in hours if he had nothing to hide. Similarly, Congress cannot even get to the truth about Benghazi.

In any event, it does not appear that Congress will put forth legislation to keep Apple and others from sending control signals to electronic devices that we own or lease. They do not own our data and should not be able to further abridge our constitutional rights.

This is just another case of losing your privacy and control over your life – one device at a time.

I believe that this patent might not be valid as it does not appear to be new and novel over prior art and simply replicated the ability of network managers to remotely control attached network devices. Something that would be "obvious" to a practitioner in the arts.

-- steve

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

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