Biometric Devices: A Voice-Activated Kill Switch for Apple?
When you read and review as many articles as we do at Eye Tracking Update, you often hear the phrase “Big Brother” tossed around in relation to new technologies, industry, policies, regulations, and even the actual consumer products. In an effort to avoid the “boy who cried wolf” sort of feeling that may come with such quick-to-label descriptions, we try not to reinforce the mania that can come with the territory. But still, sometimes the big brother paranoia seems spot on.
In a recent article posted at MSNBC’s tech site, an author reports that Apple has filed a patent in the voice and facial recognition field that could feasibly turn on a kill switch for the iPhone. The kill switch would basically shut down iPhone when it detects that someone is jailbreaking or unlocking it to install any sort of unauthorized or pirate program on the device, or even if someone is trying to take information from an iPhone user’s phone.
Apparently Apple would follow suspicious behavior, comparing the current user’s identity to the owner of the electronic device before contacting the iPhone’s legal owner about a possible hack or theft. It seems like a courteous idea from Apple – after all, you are spending a few hundred dollars on the thing in the first place and that’s before AT&T’s monopoly fees on services and data charges. If a phone were stolen, it would certainly be nice to know that your information was protected from theft.
But what if you wanted to simply jailbreak your phone yourself? How does Apple determine between an actual owner that wants to customize the device and a thief who wants to? It certainly brings up some basic questions about consumer goods and ownership, what your money buys you and what it means to purchase something.
Companies selling products to consumers shouldn’t able to dictate what constitutes ‘unauthorized use’ post sale, explained Electronic Privacy Information Center director Marc Rotenberg. Rotenberg says that users would be able to use their products as they wish, including jailbreaking iPhones if that’s something they wanted to do.
The patents that Apple filed, “Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device” have been in the system since February 2009, though they just published last month at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. While voice or facial recognition may be an impressive security measure, if Apple decides to implement this into their devices, they may set a precedent for consumer rights regarding ownership.
Read more at the original post:
- Is Apple Getting Into Face Recognition Too?
- The Rising Importance of Voice Recognition in Biometric Devices
- Biometric Devices: The Story Behind Stephen Hawking’s Voice
- Old News But Relevant News: Apple and Eye Tracking
- Apple iPhone Usability and Eye Tracking
- Is Apple Adding Eye Tracking to Their Tablet?