Apple’s Hidden Agenda

A patent filing by Apple in February 2009 was made public last week. This patent is related to the “Systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device”.

In the patent it details how Apple’s technology is capable of identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device. This unauthorized user of the electronic device can be detected by identifying particular activities that may indicate suspicious behavior. It is rumored that this technology may appear on the iPad to allow for the feature of sharing a single iPad among different family members or in a classroom situation.

For security application of the technology, when an unauthorized user is detected, various safety measures can be taken. For example, information related to the identity of the unauthorized user (ie. photo, IP address, etc.), the unauthorized user’s operation of the electronic device, or the current location of the electronic device can be gathered. While functions of the electronic device can be restricted upon unauthorized used has been confirmed.

The owner of the electronic device can be notified of the unauthorized user by sending an alert notification through any suitable medium, such as, for example, a voice mail, e-mail, or text message.

On the positive side this technology may be Apple’s attempts to satisfy corporate users regarding security concerns and their ability to entrust sensitive corporate information on these iOS devices.

On the other hand, Apple can use this technology to potentially identify Jailbreakers as “unauthorized users”, the system will then notify Apple via one of the notification means described. We have to remember that when the US Copyrights Office rules that it is no longer illegal under the DMCA to jailbreak the iPhone, Apple’s response to the ruling is that “jailbreaking is a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement“,

I continue to caution anyone who are considering jailbreaking their iOS devices. Please read blog post relating to local [Hong Kong] issues with jailbreaking.

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