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Microsoft Patents

Microsoft Applies For "Digital Manners" Patent 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-mouse-do-you-use-for-salad dept.
SirLurksAlot writes "Ars Technica reports that Microsoft has recently applied for a patent for a technology which would attempt to enforce manners in the use of cell phones, digital cameras, DVRs and other digital devices. According to the article, the technology could be used to bring common social conventions such as 'No flash photography' and 'No talking out loud' to these devices by disabling features or disabling the device entirely. The article also points out that the technology could be implemented in situations involving sensitive equipment, such as in airplanes or hospitals. The patent application itself is also an interesting read, as it describes a number of possible uses for the technology, including 'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.' While this technology could certainly be of interest to any number of organizations one has to wonder how the individuals who own devices which obey so-called 'Digital Manners Policies' would feel about it."
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Microsoft Applies For "Digital Manners" Patent

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  • Innovation (Score:4, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @04:56AM (#23760885)
    So this is "innovation", eh?
    • by mrbluze (1034940) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:03AM (#23760945) Journal

      So this is "innovation", eh?
      It will result in The Most Broken Windows Yet(TM) once people get frustrated enough with devices that refuse to work.
      • by zeromorph (1009305) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:25AM (#23761095)

        No, no, no, it's a great idea, now they can say: "It's not working? ... Yeah, that's a feature not a bug, we've got a patent for that one." Sounds like a proper business strategy for me.

        • by Odder (1288958) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @11:51AM (#23765045)

          "Digital Manners" or "Digital Domination"? Who wants Steve Ballmer or other rich and powerful people to be able to turn off their cell phone, camera, automobile, headlights and anything else with a Genuine Advantage embedded in it? On call doctors and industry people don't want to miss calls because it might have been rude to save someone's life or property. Imagine ambulances getting stuck in traffic because all the polite cars respect the mayor's motorcade. Government officials and cowards want the kill switches for airplanes [slashdot.org], so there is market for it that may soon have the force of law. Please, God, give me better government than that. Only the US government would force everyone to pay a patent tribute to a private company when they require oppressive devices to be installed in all forms of digital equipment, transportation and communications.

      • by lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:05AM (#23761763)
        well, apart of devices, which scares the hell out of me is that there will be no authentication mechanism for the base station communicating policies.
        what if someone forces my ferrary to crawl at 10mph and disables my phone for fun and robbery?
        nice idea, won't work on this planet.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by rcamera (517595)
          you don't own a ferrari [wikipedia.org]. if you did, you wouldn't have mangled the spelling so badly. and if you do, indeed, own a ferrary, then it's most likely a ferrari rip-off (like those "rolox" watches street vendors are constantly trying to sell me)
          • oooh, Ferrari. I though he was talking about a Ferry - they only go at about 10 mph most of the time anyway - I thought it was a bizarre example.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Kvasio (127200)
          you've got ferrari, so you may be chosen to become a tester for Pioneer Implementation of Manner Policy, or PIMP for short :-)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Will it prevent flying chairs?
    • Prior Art ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrYak (748999) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:35AM (#23761175) Homepage
      This patent has just been filed, not just granted.

      Details of similar systems have been recently described, including a summer of code project [openmoko.org] for OpenMoko (that wasn't accepted) which wanted to put a dbus architecture to let the user add conditions which cause profile to switch, for example: going to "silent mode" whenever the phone's gps detects it has entered into a meeting room.

      The summer of code project wasn't accepted, thus this system isn't currently implemented. Never the less, it's described on the OpenMoko wiki, and similar strategies have regularly been described on the web, including here on /. each time some company tries to market a GSM signal jammer, where approach similar to openmoko and microsoft have been said to be safer.

      To what extent can these description without implementation represent Prior Art ?

      I also fail to understand why microsoft is trying to patent this. For this to work, it must reach widespread usage, which means it must be an open standard (a real one, not an OOXML-like one), so that both all constructor can implement it easily, and some places or legislation can require it, without those requirement forcing people to give cash to a particular private company.
      • If you can't see legislation coming that would demand such a feature in various hardware, I can. And then imagine you have the patent for something that HAS TO be in your hardware. If there ever was a license to print money, this is.
        • A license to print money in a fascist society. It seem the day is rapidly approaching when the government will have complete access to and control of every thing you own. Personal property will no longer be truly personal. The potential for abuse is mind boggling and you only have to look at the recent FBI abuse of national security letters to see that this is a really, really bad thing.
      • Re:Prior Art ? (Score:5, Informative)

        by cas2000 (148703) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:00AM (#23761335)
        > To what extent can these description without implementation represent Prior Art ?

        legally? a written description is certainly adequate prior art.

        the classic example is that of the waterbed [wikipedia.org]. which was unable to be patented in 1968 because Robert Heinlein had described it in three of his novels: _Beyond This Horizon_ (1942), _Double Star_ (1956), and _Stranger in a Strange Land_ (1961)

        practically? you can patent whatever you want in the US these days. all your idea are belong to US.

        • Re:Prior Art ? (Score:5, Informative)

          by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:56AM (#23761695) Journal
          And it sounds like MS has found a stack of Popular Science magazines in a second had book store in Redmond somewhere.

          Digital Manners? hahahahahahahahaha So much has been written that could be prior art for this in science fiction that it's not even funny. Since the first brick with an antenna on it, people have wanted to control when cell phones could be used. Enforcing driving habits? SciFi has it covered. In fact, I'm not certain, but I don't think there is anything you can call novel or non-obvious about it. It's just always been impractical or unpopular. Getting a patent on it won't make either of it.

          Imagine a person at the movies. The theater forces phones to be shut off. The email from someone's alarm system saying there is a fire is never received. When they get home the fire and police departments take them to the hospital so they can watch their two small children die of burns. Yeah, that will work out nicely in the papers.

          Say you try to control these things anywhere, there is a scenario not unlike that which could happen. Controlling speed of vehicles? Good fucking luck with that one pal. The remote kill switch functions some people have tried for stolen vehicles have NEVER passed muster for insurance companies. Why would MS get to do it?
          All it would take is one fatality and the class action law suit begins.

          In fact, where ever there is a human involved in controlling a machine or gadget there has never been any successful method to wrest control from the human in favor of a machine as far as I know. The cruise control is the best attempt that I know and that is a simple assistive technology.

          Sure, alarm system replaces security guard, but does not take control from a human over a machine. There are gray area examples, but you see what I mean. Getting a patent for doing so is like trying to get a patent on breathing air.

          If MS tries for the breathing air patent, I give up.
          • Re:Prior Art ? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by silent_artichoke (973182) <mike@mik e a n d e bony.com> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:57AM (#23762141) Homepage

            Imagine a person at the movies. The theater forces phones to be shut off. The email from someone's alarm system saying there is a fire is never received. When they get home the fire and police departments take them to the hospital so they can watch their two small children die of burns. Yeah, that will work out nicely in the papers.
            Yet millions of people enjoyed movies without email alerts on their cell phone for decades. Why aren't they at home watching their kids anyway? Were they really stupid enough to hire a babysitter that can't even manage to get the kids out of the house before they got burned? Or did they abandon their children to go see a movie? Sounds like the parents are the villains here, not the movie theater. Just turn off your phone, dude. The rest of us paid to watch the movie, not hear your phone call.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ozmanjusri (601766)
            Controlling speed of vehicles? Good fucking luck with that one pal.

            Actually, systems that do that are already very common in industry and railways. It may not be welcomed by the driving public, but there's plenty of other applications.

            In fact, I'd be very surprised if automation and controller companies like Sick [sick.com] didn't already have off-the-shelf solutions.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by nrdlnd (97720)
          'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.' This is definitely Prior Art! It was demonstrated many years ago here in Sweden with cars equipped with a speed limit controller that was activated with a radio signal. Maybe it's already patented?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The summer of code project wasn't accepted, thus this system isn't currently implemented. Never the less, [...]
        More over, the prospective summer of code candidates got to get her to discuss the topic. Further more, they strongly agreed that the project should take place. Google disagreed. There fore, it was abandoned.
      • Re:Prior Art ? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lolop (677387) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:05AM (#23761765)
        The PhD student who was in my room one year ago (Cyril Rousseau) already worked on context adaptation of devices communication modalities.

        See:
        http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1148558 [acm.org]
        http://www.limsi.fr/Individu/rousseau/most/index [limsi.fr]

        He wrote a phone-like prototype and used his software in an industrial project.

        Where is Microsoft innovation ?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by darthflo (1095225)
        I call prior art [nokia.com] on the profile switching. There were many more apps similar to this back around '06 when I had my last S60 device.
        (Yeah, I know the SoC project didn't involve trying to patent it - just sayin' it ain't all that new and fancy).
      • Re:Prior Art ? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by leonardluen (211265) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @08:56AM (#23762583)
        Who really cares about prior art for this? i hope MS does get their patent. i also hope that they use it to send their lawyers after anyone that even thinks about implementing something like this.

        this is something i don't think any of us want implemented. i hate cellphones, and would very much like it if they could be disabled in some public places, but it concerns me that if we let this "Digital Manners" propagate it will get out of control.
    • by Undead NDR (1252916) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:50AM (#23761265) Homepage Journal

      So this is "innovation", eh?

      dgtlmnrs.exe: WARNING: No Microsoft bashing.

  • Stupid idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P (655590) <<ejkeever> <at> <nerdshack.com>> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @04:57AM (#23760897)

    'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.'


    And I, the consumer, would buy a new device that is explicitly less functional than existing devices... why?
    • by Escogido (884359)
      Because you still want to be polite and actually consider complying with a requests to shut off your phone?

      As long as there is a switch to use/not use this 'manner enforcement', I doubt there is a problem.
      • Re:Stupid idea. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pofy (471469) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:14AM (#23761033)
        >As long as there is a switch to use/not use this
        >'manner enforcement', I doubt there is a problem.

        You must have missed the new laws comming that will outlaw the circumvention of any such systems set up to add manners to digital devices. If you circumvent a system that was set up to protect the health and safety of the public, extra penalties will be added. In fact, just possessing such a tool with the intent to circumvent a "digital manner" system will carry harsh criminal penalties. This is needed since criminal organisations and drug dealers tends to use such devices and we need to combat them. There will also be a separate "digital manners enforcement police" set up as this is top priority for the goverment!
        • Re:Stupid idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Clockwork Apple (64497) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:39AM (#23761199) Homepage
          Expect this to me misused. Like police cars or police radios that will kill your video/photo ability on phones while they are in the area. Cops hate to be captured on film/video that they do not control. Or stoping photography/video in areas that would usually be legal, but due to actions that might be questionable like protest(riot) control where excessive force might be applied "don't tase me bro". Or where known/sanctioned violations are happening "terrorist detention/interogation centers", so that whitleblowers would have less evidence of the incident they need to document.

          This is like a proactive confiscation of your electronics, without having to ask for it.

          C.
        • by Fred_A (10934)

          There will also be a separate "digital manners enforcement police" set up as this is top priority for the goverment!
          There's no real need for this. All those devices will contain a small quantity of C4 for this purpose.

    • Or here's an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:32AM (#23761151) Journal
      Well, or maybe we'll just vote that if you scream into your phone in a train, the cops shove your phone up your arse. It has to be good for the economy too, since it'll stimulate a market and R&D for smaller devices ;)

      So, really, which would you rather buy? The one which forces you to not disturb the others, or the one which will make you walk bow-legged to the nearest hospital? ;)

      Well, more seriously, currently the only choice is to disable them completely, for example with EM shielding or with a pico-cell that doesn't let anything through. If we can enforce some manners, maybe we won't need to go that far. Maybe we'll even let the heart surgeon in a movie theatre get his emergency phone call, if we're sure that (A) the phone is capped to vibrating inside the room, instead of playing a retarded tune at 80 dB, and (B) he'll have to walk out to actually talk.

      So basically, we're not going to give you the right to be an antisocial retard and annoy everyone else, one way or another. So you can choose between (1) losing any use of that phone in some situations and places, completely, or (2) having some lesser restrictions enforced by it. I hardly think that #2 is the less functional.

      And that's not even getting into situations where retards on cell phones actually endanger everyone else. Like retards who pay more attention to their phone when driving, than to the road.

      Yes, you may think that you're way above average as a driver, and you'd _never_ possibly cause an accident. Guess what? So does everyone else. Over 90% of the people think that their driving is above average. It's mathematically impossible.

      At any rate, it's already proven that talking on the phone impairs driving more than being a little inebriated. So I'd like to see that enforced just like DUI. Forget points and fines, I want to see a few people go to PMITA state jail if they get seen doing that too often.

      No, I don't care how simultaneously that call is the most important call in your life, and you also absolutely need to be in some meeting in 5 minutes. Neither is _that_ vital as to be a blank pass to endanger other people's lives. Whoever called you, is still going to be there in 5 minutes or an hour or whatever. Whatever important customer you're running to, well, if it's that important, postpone the phone call. If you can't prioritize, well, it's not anyone else's fault, so they shouldn't be the ones taking extra risks.

      I'm guessing that it wouldn't be that horrible to have the phone remind you to park or use a headset then. Or not worse than the alternative.
      • by cammoblammo (774120) <cammoblammo@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:48AM (#23761243)

        Yes, you may think that you're way above average as a driver, and you'd _never_ possibly cause an accident. Guess what? So does everyone else. Over 90% of the people think that their driving is above average. It's mathematically impossible.

        Not if the other ten percent are really, really bad.

      • by transiit (33489)
        This is mostly just a curiosity for me...

        "At any rate, it's already proven that talking on the phone impairs driving more than being a little inebriated. So I'd like to see that enforced just like DUI. Forget points and fines, I want to see a few people go to PMITA state jail if they get seen doing that too often."

        I'm a bit lazy when it comes to doing the research, so I've not seen these studies. I'm curious if they found a discriminator that proved the cell phone was any worse than having a conversation wi
        • by Stooshie (993666)

          ... [is it] any worse than having a conversation with a passenger in the same vehicle ...

          The person in the veichle with you is aware of current road conditions etc ...

          • by jedidiah (1196)
            You don't have much in the way of personal acquaintances do you?

            Jerks trying to monopolize you on the phone aren't going to be any more considerate if they are sitting right there with you.
            • by Stooshie (993666)

              ... Jerks trying to monopolize you on the phone aren't going to be any more considerate if they are sitting right there with you ...

              If they are sitting right there with you then, if you have an accident, so do they.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Minwee (522556)

        So basically, we're not going to give you the right to be an antisocial retard and annoy everyone else

        Actually, if you read the US Constitution you'll see that people already have the inalienable right to be antisocial retards. What you're proposing is taking that away.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chunkyq (995864)

        Over 90% of the people think that their driving is above average. It's mathematically impossible.

        No it's not. I hear this type of statement in many places, but it is simply not true. Consider the set {15, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95 ,96, 97, 98}. The mean of the set is 86.1. 90% of the set is above the mean. No matter what size the data set, it is not mathematically impossible for 9/10 of the data to be above the mean. It is statistically unlikely for normally distributed data, but even then, not impossible. Try to understand what you're talking about.

    • Re:Stupid idea. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:44AM (#23761227)
      Because it'll be enforced by law, probably for reasons of safety, or by some company policy that effects you.
    • by rumith (983060)
      Because none of the carriers available where you live sells devices that do not implement this functionality?
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Don't worry, thanks to this patent, these devices will only be Microsoft devices which few people buy anyway...
    • Re:Stupid idea. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:00AM (#23761333)
      Because I could well see our governments passing laws that cells MUST have some sort of function that turns them off in hospitals or planes, I could even see a law mandating chips to keep your car under the speed limit.

      When you have no choice, you have to buy what you are offered. This isn't free market anymore. Do you want region locked DVD players? No. Of course, you would prefer region free players. But if there isn't anything offered like that, what do you buy?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thermian (1267986)
      Why not, after all millions of people have accepted Vista, and millions more are happy with DRM.

      By Happy I mean cluelessly accepting, but when it comes down to it, sales are what matter to the suits.
  • Good job (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hal_Porter (817932) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:01AM (#23760929)
    this technology is not already in Windows say I can still say what a bunch of

    [Bad manners deleted]
  • manners (Score:5, Funny)

    by alxtoth (914920) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:03AM (#23760951) Homepage
    ..No Windows at MacWorld/Linux conferences
  • by Pofy (471469) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:05AM (#23760961)
    In other news, bank robbers cheers at their new tool to bring along that will disable all cameras when performing robberies.

    Cell phone users are also wondering why their phones tend to stop working every other minute. Investigation shows one out of five person in the public carrying their own "no phone calls here" devices arround.

    Finally paparazzis express no worries. They will just keep a slightly longer distance to their targets and thus avoid any "no photos here" devices carried arround by most celebrities.
    • They will just replace the firmware, or shortcut a chip.

      So, Microsoft patented the broadcast flag?
    • Mobile phone blockers already exist ... and are banned because they might effect equipment outside your property

      Unless a government embraces this technology it is also likely to be banned .. it's an all or nothing

  • by aeiah (937509) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:05AM (#23760963)
    i give it one month until someone gets around the restrictions, and two months until someone makes a transmitter and shuts off all mobiles (or cars) in the area
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wow, Microsoft really don't get it.

    I bet they peed their pants just a little when they finally found something in the world of tech that has little/no prior art.

    Never did it occur to them that the reason there's very little prior art is that the other people to try using technology to be restrictive, and annoying, go out of business quickly. Because -- like DRM -- it's a shit idea and consumers will hate it.

    • by QuantumG (50515) *
      That's your typical patent in the IT world these days. Amazon one-click: "hey everyone, let's store credit card numbers and make it effortless for people to buy things.. we won't even make them enter a password!" An idea so brain dead that they even stopped doing it.
    • Yep, MS will apparently never learn that there are sometimes good reasons to channel the behaviour of users (Mac OSX does it quite well, or maybe Gnome or Python come to that) but there is nearly never a good reason to hinder a reasonable usage of something.

  • Okay (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Auckerman (223266) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:06AM (#23760979)
    So the camera I have now will magically follow this, as will the untold millions of cameras currently in use.

    I prefer the good old fashioned calling people out method of enforcement. I've had a professor who answered peoples cell phones, I've seen a recital stopped completely because of a camera and the person kicked out. Anyhow, anything I own should never be under your control. Sorry, but it's just that way.

    The only reason ideas of this caliber get used in mass is so that those who have power can remove what little power the rest have. Organize protest, sorry you cameras can't work, it's for the safety of those around you.

    I'm also seriously beginning to think that there is a group of people in this world who consider better communication and record keeping on the part of the masses is a bad thing and should be stopped.
    • Re:Okay (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Weedlekin (836313) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:03AM (#23761747)
      "I'm also seriously beginning to think that there is a group of people in this world who consider better communication and record keeping on the part of the masses is a bad thing and should be stopped."

      The English language, expressive beastie that it is, already has a term for such groups of people: governments.

      Governments classify monitoring and recording technology using the following simple rule:

      Technology which allows governments, their agents, and wealthy and powerful people who own both to monitor and record the activities of those who aren't part of the government or its owners is good, and therefore compulsory.

      Technology that allows others to monitor and record the activities of the government, its agents, or the wealthy who own them is bad, and must be outlawed or carry the capability to be disabled whenever there is a potential for inconvenience to government, its agents, or their owners.
      • Parent has it right. I'd like to add that this doesn't necessarely imply any ill will on the part of individual members of government at large. It is simply the nature of the beast. Governments govern, and to do that they must have authority. They are structured to inherently resist anything that undermines their authority, otherwise they would not exist.
    • Asking politely to not use phones/cameras, and then embarrassing the hell out of them when they do is much more effective than any blocking technology could be ...

      Social pressure and fear of punishment stops most crimes
  • So now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yetihehe (971185) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:07AM (#23760981)
    So now police will disable any cameras in vicinity of "action"?
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:08AM (#23760991)
    If you can select "Manual" or "Follow Local Convention" on something, it's fine. If it's meant to override any setting I put in, there's obviously going to be problems and abuse. In short, it should be there for the customer -- not big brother.
    • You haven't been for too long on this planet, have you?
    • If you are going to do that, why not just follow what the signs tell you? I don't really need my phone to tell me not to talk on it in places where I shouldn't be talking.....
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)
        A 'ringminder' feature that shifted your phone over to silent or vibrate or whatever might be handy. Incredibly lazy, but it would be handy if the device response to the signal were configurable.
    • by Rary (566291)

      If you can select "Manual" or "Follow Local Convention" on something, it's fine.

      Of course it's opt-in. You opt-in by buying the device. You opt-out by not buying it. Don't forget, we're talking about a patent from a single company, not legislation.

  • Imagine... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yetihehe (971185)
    ... no, not a beowulf cluster of those. Imagine if this was $good_company making this patent:
    - Hooray, now everyone will be less obnoxious!
    - Yeah, it will be easier now to obey those "no calling" in theaters. It was such a pain to remember to turn of phone.
    - Good, no more accidental flashes when I'm in a museum.

    //$good_company==apple||google||...
    • Well, $good_company would probably have created the patent to ensure nobody gets the braindead idea to actually build something like this.

      If they had the idea to patent something like this at all.

      That's the difference. The potential of abuse for such a "feature" is high enough to make sure no $good_company would want to implement it.

      Then again, I recently checked $good_company returns an empty set when queried against $corporations.
  • by NoobixCube (1133473) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:37AM (#23761191) Journal
    First they try to foist "Digital Rights Management" on us, to the applause of many organisations, and now they try to force digital management of my right to be a prick on me? I hate hearing a phone ring at the movies (even more, I hate hearing someone answer it) as much as anyone, but people shouldn't have to have good manners forced on them by their tools/toys. If I may compare control of one's manners to control of one's bladder, this is worse than grownup diapers. It's like underwear that plugs your urethra against your will.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:50AM (#23761261)
    "And I, the consumer, would buy a new device that is explicitly less functional than existing devices... why?"

    Because you have no choice, perhaps? Take DVD players as an example. DVD region-codes have no legal basis, that is, makers of DVD-players do not have to respect them. Yet all major manufacturers do, in fact, respect the codes.

    For the electronic manners, it could easily go the same way...
  • misnamed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cas2000 (148703) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @05:50AM (#23761267)
    it's interesting that they call it 'Digital Manners'.

    it's almost as if they want people to think it's just benign reminders and opt-in enforcement of polite social niceties rather than a method for enforcing mandatory external control over all your devices.

    • by KwKSilver (857599)
      You got it right. It about more power for Big Brother, not manners. MS quit being about empowering little guys years ago.
  • BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING....
    And he looks just like Martha Stewart!!!

  • Does this mean that I have to be rude to avoid paying M$ a royalty?
  • by tsa (15680)
    Microsoft. We KNOW what's good for you!
  • "You have been fined one credit for the violation of Digital Manners Act."
  • Potential for good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:06AM (#23761379) Homepage
    I think this kind of thing could have potential for good, as long as it isn't enforced. The classic example is the mobile phone in a theatre or cinema - it would be nice if the phone could know to automatically switch to silent mode, with user override possible.

    In other areas like not being able to record things with your DVR it's just evil. In other words, it needs to act like a polite sign that a device can "read", rather than be enforced.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wow! Once we have computers in our body that control and supplement our being, then we can implant this technology in every citizen.

    That allows us to enforce the wishes of the religious right and disable the mothers that attempt abortion. But that would be counter productive, wouldn't it?

    We could also zap those pesky homosexuals and zap the libido of everybody that makes love to anybody he is not married to. Amend the constitution!

    And off course we can disable everybody's arm that does attempt to vote the w
  • I'll settle for a kill switch on users who top post. Thank you so much, Microsoft, for innovating that ...

    http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/Net_Resources [linux-mips.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:11AM (#23761415)
    Yeah people are so rude these days. The other day I saw some pictures by reporters from a warzone!! What would become of the world if you can not even commit war crimes in privacy of your own prison camp? And remember when ABC did that terrible rude thing an filmed the giant halliburton logos on the trucks at an Iranian oil field? How rude!

    I am sure the "You are being rude [Cancel], [Continue] dialog will work just as well when I try and take a picture of the chemical waste coming from a pipe outside the canon factory. Afterall with Canon, you can!

    In fact why not let technology enforce all humanities morals? Smart card chastity belts for everyone!!! Yay!
    • by sjs132 (631745)
      Psst... New black market device: Smart card reprogramers...

        "Surprise her with full open access today!"

  • Well you can't go there cos it is restricted.

    You spent HOW MUCH on that Digital Camera? Well, we'll still tell when and where and how you can use it - for your own good, of course...

    You think that you're free to use your purchases as you see fit? Well Big Brother Bill knows best. He'll even tell you what accessories you must buy to get it to work.
  • Talk talk (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:17AM (#23761467) Journal
    You will be nice to your copy of Microsoft Vista at all times. If it registers dissatisfaction about Vista through the use of the webcam or via voice control, Vista will shut down until you start giving it nice thoughts like "Bill Gates is great really", or "I didn't really mean to attack my machine with a chair".
  • Any relation to... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by klecu (1144347) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:26AM (#23761519) Homepage
    ...kill switches in planes [slashdot.org]? Seems like a frightening trend toward behavior enforcement.
  • by katz (36161) <Email? What e-mail?> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:36AM (#23761585)
    ...what good is a phone call if you're unable to speak?

    "According to the article the technology could be used to bring common social conventions such as 'No flash photography' and ****'No talking out loud'**** to these devices by disabling features or disabling the device entirely." [emphasis mine].
  • by codeButcher (223668) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @06:46AM (#23761637)

    When they enforced digital rights, I didn't raise my voice, because I didn't have any rights.

    When they enforced digital manners, I didn't raise my voice, because I didn't have any manners.

    When they enforce digital voting, it will be too late to raise any voice.

  • It's pretty smart, in an evil way. What to you do when you foresee the end of your days as a darling of the consumer? Create products for Big Brother!
  • Prior Art (Score:3, Interesting)

    by earthforce_1 (454968) <earthforce_1@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:16AM (#23761839) Journal
    I believe there was a patent applied for sometime around 2000 for cell phones to voluntarily go to vibrate or silent mode if it was within range of a special code transmitter, which could be installed in theatres, churches, etc. I know because I thought up the same thing were I was working at the time, but was just a few months too late. I don't have the patent number, but I know it was in the US and I saw a photocopied newspaper article on it when I got the "close but no cigar" letter from upper management.

  • WHY IS EVERY MICROSOFT INNOVATION ABOUT DISABLING SHIT????

    Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
    Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
    Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
    Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
  • A pre-requisite for field a patent here, besides not being commons sense as US allows, is to have MADE a device that works and implement the patented method. You can't patent ideas here.
    I do not know how a country allow such a thing, exepts... that they want to enforce those patents in the rest of the world to make money.
    Sad, really. :-(
  • To kick trolls off of Slashdot or to automatically mod down posts.

    Of course, just by saying it, this post will be mod'd as a troll.

    A patent for good manners on Slashdot- could it really be done?
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:59AM (#23762159)
    There better be a 911 over ride that fully unlocks the phone.
  • .... don't use it.

    So whats the problem?
  • Signal sent that automatically turns cell phones on to silent/vibrate when in say movie theatres, hospitals, etc.

    The exception being that you could register your phone as an emergency response phone if you're a fireman, law enforcement, doctor, and so on.

    We so need to disband patents.
  • Manners is a property of PEOPLE, not of devices.

    I should have the manners to not use my camera's flash at a concert. My camera is my property, it should do whatever I damn well tell it to do.

    Now, an automated feature that, when turned on, automatically puts phones on vibrate in the theater is fine -- since that's just the user choosing to use it. But enforcing things like that in the name of "manners enforcement" is ridiculous.
  • Shamelessly copied from the standard this-anti-spam-solution-sucks template.

    This patent advocates a

    (x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

    approach to enforcing manners. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea.)

    ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
    ( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
    ( ) It will improve manners for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
    (x) Users of electronic devices will not put up with it
    ( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
    (x) Apple will not put up with it
    ( ) The police will not put up with it
    (x) Requires too much cooperation from asshats
    (x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
    (x) Many electronics users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
    (x) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

    Specifically, your plan fails to account for

    (x) Laws expressly prohibiting it
    (x) Lack of centrally controlling authority
    (x) Asshats
    (x) Jurisdictional problems
    ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
    (x) Unpopularity of weird new devices
    ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
    (x) Susceptibility of protocols other to attack
    (x) Willingness of users to install OS patches to their existing devices
    ( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
    ( ) Technically illiterate politicians

    and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

    (x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
    ( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra in the movie theater without being censored
    (x) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of privately owned devices
    (x) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
    ( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
    ( ) Incompatibility with open source or open source licenses
    ( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
    (x) I don't want the government controlling my iPhone
    ( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

    Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

    ( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
    (x) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
    ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!
  • 9.11/Flight 93 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jafac (1449) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @11:41AM (#23764865) Homepage
    Had the cell phones of the passengers on flight 93 been disabled by this technology, the passengers might not have learned of the hijackers' plans, and the hijackers might have succeeded in reaching their target. (speculated to have been Sears' Tower in Chicago, or possibly the US Capitol).

  • patenting unfeatures (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Khashishi (775369) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:34PM (#23766979) Journal
    I hope more corps. patent unfeatures, so it becomes impossible to copy them.
  • by flyneye (84093) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @01:50PM (#23767259) Homepage
    I'm filing for a patent not for an OS but one for installing Microsoft.Not the installer mind you,but for the act of installing Microsoft.
    Anyone who actually installs Windows as an act whether scripted or not will have to pay me a fee for doing so.
            This also applies to anyone working for Microsoft and right down to Bill Gates.
            This in no way applies to any other OS besides Windows.

               

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