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Patents Censorship Microsoft

Separation of Church and Microsoft 165

Posted by kdawson
from the can't-watch-that dept.
theodp writes "Last week, the USPTO published a rather odd Microsoft patent application for Content Ratings and Recommendations, which describes how religious-based communities and other 'subcultures' can use the patent-pending process to prevent their members from viewing undesirable television programs and movies."
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Separation of Church and Microsoft

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:49PM (#20466853)
    Though I suspect that this patent is probably designed not as a submarine patent or a patent troll, I have to wonder about its validity considering the existence of rating systems and parental controls, as well as technologies such as "flag this post" and "flag this user" which allow community-based censorship of content.

    That said, this type of technology would be immensely useful in DVR devices. Rather than seeing this as a means of restricting your (or your kid's) viewing habits, a rating system that grew to be more appropriate to your particular tastes would mean less time spent channel surfing and more quality time with the boob tube. You would, in an optimal system, only be presented with programs/media that fit your profile which you generate as you watch and rate shows.

    The less time spent in front of the TV the better, I always say (seriously, I say it all the freaking time). If you can get your daily dose of porn in a single block of recorded programming, you all of a sudden stop being fat, lazy American porn-loving slobs, and you become efficient Japanese tentacle fetishists. Or whatever kink you're into.

    Information overload and underload is the biggest problem with media (mass or otherwise) today. What we need are sources of content that give us the right amount of load so we can be satisfied without getting worn out.
  • by grassy_knoll (412409) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:52PM (#20466913) Homepage
    As in, could one use this to block all religious programing? Or all $FOO that the viewer doesn't want to watch?

    If so, and it's controlled by the viewer... problem?

    A switch to block $naughty_things ( cancel or allow? ) doesn't seem as useful, but if it's user controled content filtering it might be ok.
  • Brilliant ! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:13PM (#20467269)
    Now you have a rating of a television program after it aired. That is going to be usefull.

    If you ask me this is just an elaborate excuse for hypocritical pervs watching porn.
    "I'm not a porn watching pervert, I was just rating it."
  • by CustomDesigned (250089) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:26PM (#20467467) Homepage Journal
    I think the OP's point is that this may be used in such a way that the parents don't bother devising their own system for raising their child based on their own child's needs/interests/wants...basically, using someone elses "system" for raising their own child.

    Also known in the USA as "public school".

    Seriously, I've filtered my childrens web browsing through squid since RedHat 7.2 (how long ago is that?). What's with the patent? Usually, restrictions have less to do with inappropriate content, and more to do with, "no, you can't watch/play ... until you finish your homework." The Microsoft system sounds worse than useless. Once, a porn email with embedded images slipped past my spam filter. 10 year old daughter had little idea what they were seeing, other than a vague feeling of something "not right" and called mom - mom and dad did the freaking out. (Is emailing porn to minors a criminal offense?)

    Yes, appropriate content varies widely by child. One daughter had nightmares about "ducks biting her". No, "Jurassic Park" is not appropriate. Another daughter is a budding Lara Croft, and adores action/adventure. Currently wants to join Coast Guard. (Cue a dose of reality to meet real accident/war victims and see real animals slaughtered [for food] so that she doesn't think it is all "fun".)

  • by thule (9041) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @02:07PM (#20468073) Homepage
    Depends on how you define "social skills." The many home schooled kids I have encountered have a much better ability to socialize outside of what is normally defined at their peer group. They can converse with adults much better than other kids their age. Although some are too sheltered, I've also seen kids that are very confident in who they are and seem, to me, less likely to be influenced by the day's fad by peers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @02:46PM (#20468587)
    Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to make it sound like I was bashing home schooling. In fact, I was home schooled for grades 1-3, 5, and 11-12 and feel I came out of it MUCH better than if I had stayed in public school for all twelve years. I'm extremely social, fairly intelligent, and Atheist. One thing I learned from about half a dozen various home school gatherings, though, is that the vast majority of home school families are religious to the extreme, at least here in the US. IIRC, more than 90% are devoutly Christian and between 50-67% are evangelical (Jesus Camp quotes the high end of that range).

    So anyway, I'm not at all trying to put down home schooling. If anything, I think more people should do it, so long as they can leave religion out of it. I'm just saying that many parents use home schooling as a means to have total control over what their children are exposed to: Christian "science", Christian friends, Christian activities, etc, etc. The kids don't stand a chance.

    Seriously, go buy/rent/pirate the movie.

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.