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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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  • 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: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.
  • 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 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].
  • 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.
  • 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:Prior Art ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by darthflo (1095225) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:07AM (#23761779)
    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).
  • Prior Art (Score:3, Interesting)

    by earthforce_1 (454968) <earthforce_1@ya[ ].com ['hoo' 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.

  • Re:Prior Art ? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nrdlnd (97720) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @07:54AM (#23762119)
    '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:Stupid idea. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thermian (1267986) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @08:27AM (#23762389)
    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.
  • 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.
  • Re:Stupid idea. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nickruiz (1185947) on Thursday June 12, 2008 @09:17AM (#23762795)

    Agreed. I would take this one step further to suggest that it would only be a matter of time before the cryptographic key would get broken, unless we're talking about installing 2048-bit+ encryption keys (1024 isn't safe anymore...PC World Article [pcworld.com]).

    Since we're big on talking about terrorism in the US, I think that one of the biggest concerns would be a massive denial of service attack against cell phone providers to place the phones in their network in "Please turn off your cell phone during the movie" mode.

  • 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.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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