Apple has one of the most popular smartphones on the market today and as such there are users all around the world that use the device for keeping in contact with loved ones. Many of those people who live a long way from each other undoubtedly use the phone for some racy subject material such as sexting.
Apple has been granted a patent (first applied for in 2008) that is titled “Text-based communication control for personal communication device” according to Tech Crunch. That sounds rather plebeian until you dig into the subject matter of the patent and realize exactly what the patent does and the opportunity for censorship that will anger some.
The verbiage seems docile and welcome on some levels stating in the background info, “[Currently there is] no way to monitor and control text communications to make them user appropriate. For example, users such as children may send or receive messages (intentionally or not) with parentally objectionable language.”
The patent outlines an application that would allow the parent to determine words that a child using the phone can’t send or receive texts that contain those words. The patent also outlines a way that the application could alert other people like parents or administrators in a business setting when patents with these objectionable words are sent using the phone.
The patent reads, “If the control contains unauthorized text, the control application may alert the user, the administrator or other designated individuals of the presence of such text. The control application may require the user to replace the unauthorized text or may automatically delete the text or the entire communication.”
It’s unclear if the patent will cover a system that automatically censors objectionable words and inserts other words all the time by default or if it is an opt-in service. If the patent is a system that will only allow those who own the devices to set word filters, there will be few parents or network administrators that won’t like the newfound control over how an iPhone can be used.
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