'Anti-sexting patent': Another victory in Apple's anti-porn cabal

Summary:Apple's anti-porn cabal has been granted another victory, a patent which in essence has the potential to combat 'sexting' and other graphic text-based content.

Dubbed the 'anti-sexting patent', Apple has been approved a patent, first submitted in 2008, which could be used to prevent users from sending and receiving sexually related text messages.

This is yet another move towards a 'family friendly' Apple, with all sexually explicit applications removed from the App Store, after publically criticising the adult industry earlier this year during the iPad launch

(For the old people out there who still 'court' and 'woo', sexting is to send a sexually graphic of explicit text message or image, commonly used by the Generation Y to get their groove on. Of course, taking into account teenagers doing this, there has been obvious concern in regards to the transmission of child abuse imagery, though granted they are not always knowing they are engaging in an illegal act).

Although the patent doesn't specifically call out 'sexting', there are references to 'parental controls' for preventing words from being typed or displayed:

"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" ..."The content of such a message is controlled by filtering the message based on defined criteria."

Yet on the other hand, the patented technology could work to engage the user in learning:

"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."

Gawker considers this patent almost useless, with those who want to send these kinds of messages resorting to making a phone call instead. Yet, as anyone will know who has sent a raunchy text message before, the reason it is written down is because it's socially awkward saying it directly to them - especially if you are in the very beginning stages of a 'relationship'. Plus, the traditional phone call are in decline with the younger generations today, opting for social media and instant messaging instead.

I just hope there's a way to turn it off.

Topics: iPhone, Legal, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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