What’s the real purpose behind Apple’s patent request: parental control or censorship?

By: John C. Dvorak  10.13.2010

Apple’s Anti-Sexting Patent Is Misleading

…This patent is not about sexting it’s about political speech. Apple wants its phone in Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, and other parts of the world where political dissent is a crime. Over the years, it has become apparent that the mobile phone is a tool for revolutionaries. This was proven with the Iranian “Green” riots of 2009, but began with a series of riots all over the world through the last decade.

The key to this patent—and my point—is in the summary within the patent application. It reads as follows:
The invention, in various embodiments, addresses deficiencies in existing attempts at solutions by providing systems, methods and devices that enable an administrator to control the text-based communications of a user of a text-based communications device through an administrative mode of an intelligent text-based communication control unit or application. The text-based communication control application filters incoming and/or outgoing text-based communications based on administrator-defined criteria.

In the next paragraph, it says:
In one embodiment, the control application includes a parental control application.

Note the language and the words “one embodiment.” This means there are other uses and this example is one you dummies can understand, “sexting.” But reread the first paragraph over and you’ll see the real use: control.

And, of course, the sexting ruse is just that—a ruse. Let’s face it, American teens in particular can work around anything is incredibly creative ways. So if kids want to send lewd and suggestive notes to each other, they will. And this patent sure does not put a stop to questionable photos that get traded back and forth amongst teens.

But a phone that prevents any sort of political use would not only be welcome in horrible regimes around the world, but perhaps—as I suspect Apple hopes—might be mandated. In other words, if you want to sell a mobile device in Myanmar (riots in 2007), then it must have this capability…


Questions or Comments?