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Apple Patent Filing is About Tracking, ID'ing Users

Last week news did the rounds that Apple had filed a patent for a way of detecting and disabling iPhones that were modified, such as jailbreaking. The law, however, now dictates that jailbreaking and even the unlocking of phones is legal.

What really caught our eye in the Apple patent filing was how a device may be able to identify and verify the user. One obvious method is through a voice signature.

12 . The electronic device of claim 11, further comprising: 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.

Another is through photo.

17 . A system comprising: an electronic device comprising; an input device operable to receive a password provided by a user; a camera operable to take a photograph of the user; a processor operable to: determine that a predetermined number of incorrect passwords have been successively received; direct the camera to take a photograph of the user; and generate an alert notification in response to the processor determining, wherein the alert notification comprises information related to the identity of the user and the photograph of the user; and communications circuitry operable to transmit the alert notification to a remote device.

Photo and voice signatures sound simple enough, but more startling is the idea of using heart beat signatures.

13 . The electronic device of claim 11, further comprising: 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.

In addition to the GPS functions of the phone, the patent mentions an additional way to track a moving device by identifying the mode of transport.

16 . The electronic device of claim 11, further comprising: an accelerometer operable to record a vibration profile of the electronic device; and a signal processor operable to compare the recorded vibration profile with a library of vibration profiles to determine a current mode of transportation of the electronic device.

Apple's entire patent filing is about the systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users for a device, and then a way to generate a message to alert the proper authority. Sure, it may be a bit big brother-like, but corporations as well as law enforcement would love such a technology.