Apple's anti-sexting patent approved

A 2008 patent for a device that censors text messages with objectionable content has just been approved.

It looks like Steve Jobs' dream of family-friendly technology might just come true. On Tuesday an Apple patent for an "anti-sexting" device was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

According to TechCrunch, the patent was filed in 2008 by Apple, but was just approved. The patent is for "systems, devices, and methods" for "enabling control" of the content of text-based messages. While the patent wording doesn't use the term "sexting," it's pretty obvious where Apple is coming from (although, perhaps Apple will also use the patent to censor words such as "Google," "Android," and "Microsoft").

The first part of the patent describes the "anti-sexting" measures:

"Systems, devices, and methods are provided for enabling a user to control the content of text-based messages sent to or received from an administered device. In some embodiments, a message will be blocked (incoming or outgoing) if the message includes forbidden content. In other embodiments, the objectionable content is removed from the message prior to transmission or as part of the receiving process. The content of such a message is controlled by filtering the message based on defined criteria. The criteria may be defined according to a parental control application."

Seems pretty basic -- it's a patent for censoring text messages. It's kind of like those personal television censors that bleep out "objectionable" words and replace them with safe alternatives (they usually use the closed-caption text in order to figure out which words are objectionable, so this is very similar). Perfect for parents who like to control every inch of their children's lives.

But that's not all -- there's more:

"These techniques also may be used, in accordance with instructional embodiments, to require the administered devices to include certain text in messages. These embodiments might, for example, require that a certain number of Spanish words per day be included in e-mails for a child learning Spanish."

Ah, even better for control-freak parents. Not only can you keep your child from "sexting" with their peers, but you can also screw with their e-mails so they're forced to learn languages.

Is it just me, or does this patent seem like a waste of time? Since I was a teen not too long ago, I can tell you this: kids will be kids -- and they'll always be able to get around censors, especially when it comes to electronic communication (why do you think words such as "pr0n" exist?). Also, it's not like this new technology will be able to censor objectionable pictures, and, well, those are easily worth thousands of words.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ApplePhonesconsumer electronicsapple iphonewireless technology

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?