Privacy group charges Apple plans to patent “traitorware” and spy on users – Computerworld Blogs

Privacy group charges Apple plans to patent “traitorware” and spy on users – Computerworld Blogs.

Excerpts:

Some people may be celebrating the U.S. Copyright Office declaration that it’s legal to “jailbreak” iPhones. But Apple is fighting back, and a well-known privacy group warns that a recent Apple patent application “does nothing short of providing a roadmap for how Apple can — and presumably will — spy on its customers and control the way its customers use Apple products.” The patent application is downright chilling.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has examined Apple’s patent application for, in the patent’s words, “identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device.” The patent application is number 20100207721, and was filed on August 19.

The EFF’s blog notes that:

Apple’s patent provides for a device to investigate a user’s identity, ostensibly to determine if and when that user is “unauthorized,” or, in other words, stolen. More specifically, the technology would allow Apple to record the voice of the device’s user, take a photo of the device’s user’s current location or even detect and record the heartbeat of the device’s user.

Don’t believe the EFF? Just read the patent application. It notes the device would contain:

a microphone operable to record the voice of the current user; and wherein the processor is further operable to: compare the recorded voice with voice prints of authorized user of the electronic device; and determine that the recorded voice does not match the voice print of any authorized user of the electronic device.

It would also contain:

a heartbeat sensor operable to detect the heartbeat of the current user; and wherein the processor is further operable to: compare the detected heartbeat with heart signatures of each authorized user of the electronic device; and determine that detected the heartbeat does not match the heart signature of any authorized user of the electronic device.

[snip]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation isn’t composed of bomb-throwing anarchists; they are a well-respected privacy organization that has for years functioned as a watchdog to defend people’s electronic privacy rights. So what they write isn’t hyperbole.

Wow, talk about techno-fascism.  This goes far beyond any normal need to protect their IP.

Edit 26/8/10

I did a closer read of the subject matter (which I should have done originally).  It appears that this idea would be for a full blown device within a phone, computer or whatever made by Apple.   Now, that is quite chilling.    One thing is for sure, if this ever does go ahead I would never again buy an Apple product.