Apple Files for a Patent to Detect Unauthorized Users, Jailbreakers

Apple is attempting to patent a way to find and stop unauthorized users of iOS devices. Bad thing by itself? No. However, the patent also explicitly mentions jailbreaking as something to stop.

As the patent states:

In some embodiments, an unauthorized user can be detected by noting particular activities that can indicate suspicious behavior. For example, activities such as entering an incorrect password a predetermined number of times in a row, hacking of the electronic device, jailbreaking of the electronic device, unlocking of the electronic device, removing a SIM card from the electronic device, or moving a predetermined distance away from a synced device can be used to detect an unauthorized user.

After any of those safeguards are triggered, “access to particular applications can be restricted, access to sensitive information can be restricted, sensitive information can be erased from the electronic device…,” as the patent states, basically wiping to the device and restoring it back to stock. This patent was filed in February of ’09 and was published Thursday. It definitely isn’t brand new, and it even precedes the changes to DRM, stating that jailbreaking is ‘fair use.’ Therefore, it makes me wonder if this new patent would violate the newer ruling, since it could potentially be used to find and stop jailbroken devices.

The patent also describes taking photos video, recording voice, and the inclusion of a ‘heartbeat sensor’ to monitor the person using it. If someone unauthorized picks the phone up, Apple will notify you through email – so at least part of this patent could be extremely useful for those in the enterprise sector who need extremely tight security.

But ultimately, who knows. Maybe this will be implemented in the near future. Or maybe it won’t, as Apple has plenty of patents that have never actually made it into the wild, at least yet.


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