Apple has applied for a patent — titled 'Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorised Users of an Electronic Device' — that covers a series of security measures to automatically protect devices from thieves and other 'unauthorized users'. This terminology apparently applies to those who engage in jailbreaking, which allows devices to run apps not approved by the company producing the operating system — such as Apple, the main target of such bypasses.
The application, which was filed in February 2009 and published Thursday, describes measures to identify "particular activities that may indicate suspicious behavior," so that "safety measures" can be taken to restrict the device's functions. Those activities include the "hacking, jailbreaking, unlocking, or removal of a SIM card", according to the application. Apple also intends to send warnings to owners via email or text message when such activity is detected.
In July, US Copyright Office ruled that bypassing a manufacturer's protection mechanisms to allow "handsets to execute software applications" no longer violates federal copyright law. However, while the US Copyright Office has declared the software legal, Apple has repeatedly discouraged users from loading such a bypass, reminding them that doing so will void their device's warranty.
For more on this story, read Apple applies for patent to kill jailbroken devices on CNET News.